Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding and Bed-Sharing

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

When promoting ecological breastfeeding for all its benefits including the natural spacing of births, bed-sharing is taught.  At one of Dr. James McKenna’s lecture, he gave out two bed-sharing papers.  One sheet showed 10 benefits of bed-sharing for the baby and the other, 10 benefits for the mother.  Interestingly, one of the 10 bed-sharing benefits for the mother was significantly highlighted.  That benefit was namely,  amenorrhea for the mother, which he noted “suppresses ovulation thereby increasing birth interval.”

We have been teaching ecological breastfeeding since the late Sixties, and no one has written us saying they lost their baby due to ecological breastfeeding.  The last blog I wrote mentioned how to do safe bed-sharing, and the NFPI website has information on this at the home page at “links.”

I recently heard from a mother who lost her baby while ecologically breastfeeding but she was not bed-sharing at the time. The baby was alone in an adult bed, slept on her tummy, and was developmentally behind.  The mother  obviously regrets leaving the baby alone, thinking she could have been there to help.  Here is part of her correspondence to me:

“I bought your book the Seven Standards of Ecological Nursing, and following your 7 standards helped me remain without periods till my 3rd child was 9 months old. I was so happy I even told all my friends about your book. I used your 7 standards for my 4th child and was still without menstruating at 6 months postpartum when she died suddenly in her sleep.. She loved nursing on demand, co-sleeping and being held in the moby  wrap.  Sadly she died in her sleep Friday, August 1st. In the evening I nursed her to sleep while we were both lying in my big double bed, then I put her sleeping on tummy (the position she preferred sleeping in) near corner of bed which was fully next to the wall. Away from my pillow. I covered her lower body with my quilt. She was dressed warmly and wearing a hat because it was such a cold winter night. (I live in the southern hemisphere). (She used to cry when she was too cold and usually cried when left sleeping on her back). The heater was on and window was slightly open. I left her sleeping peacefully in my bed and went out of the room. A bit later I heard her cry for a very brief short time and stopped crying. I didn’t go to her because I thought she went back to sleep like she sometimes does to resettle herself without me. When I was about to go to sleep I looked for her in my bed but I did not see her. Then I saw a lump under my quilt. I picked up my quilt and found my baby lifeless all the way on the other side of my bed under my quilt. She had never before moved herself such a far distance in her life. She had a constant runny nose and was slightly behind developmentally. No one in my house smokes or drinks alcohol.  I would love to co-sleep with my next baby g-d willing when I will be blessed with one.”  (The writer’s spelling of the divine name is a Jewish custom.)

I use this sad experience to stress one other rule regarding bed-sharing and ecological breastfeeding.  Never leave your baby unattendedKeep your baby with you in your area of activity or sleep, whether the baby is sleeping or not.

During the day if I was tired, I nursed my baby in our bed.  If I awoke, I would bring the baby to my area of activity. Many times I had a firm quilt on the floor in the corner of the dining room and nursed the baby to sleep and I rested there while doing so.  If I had to go downstairs to do laundry, the infant came with me.  In the evening I would nurse the baby to sleep and kept the sleeping baby near us until we retired for the evening and brought the baby to our bed.

Some mothers have written me that their baby awakes and cries because mother is not there.  With mother-baby togetherness, as I have described, this is rare because mother is right there or nearby.  I have always stressed that the key to ecological breastfeeding is mother-baby togetherness.  This togetherness is best for the baby, and it is also best for the mother.

Please read what the SIDS researcher said this month — that bed-sharing is NOT dangerous.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding (print or e-book)

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding and Bed-sharing

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The most natural way to space babies is the one designed by God since the beginning of the human race.  Natural baby spacing is achieved by a natural form of mothering we call ecological breastfeeding according to the Seven Standards, maternal behaviors that foster frequent suckling.  One of these maternal behaviors associated with a lengthy amenorrhea is bed-sharing where the mother sleeps with her baby and nurses the baby while doing so.

Some parents are afraid they will harm their baby if the breastfeeding mother sleeps with her baby.  I know because I was once one of those mothers!  What does the research show?  As breastfeeding advocate Linda J. Smith (MPH, FACCE, IBCLC, FILCA) has stated on many occasions: “The sober, non-smoking, breastfeeding mother on a safe surface is NOT a risk to her baby.”  

La Leche League International recently made a similar claim in their online New Beginnings, Issue 3, 2014:  If you follow LLL”s  Safe Sleep Seven guidelines, “meeting all seven means that your baby’s risk of SIDS when he’s sleeping next to you in your bed is no greater than when he’s alone in a crib.”

The seven guidelines are these: 1) No smoking, 2) sober parents, 3) breastfeeding mother day and night, 4) healthy full-term baby, 5) baby on back [this usually happens automatically when baby breastfeeds], 6) no sweat and no swaddling, and 7) safe surface.

The main benefit to sleeping with your baby during the night is that it is one job you can do in your sleep and this means the mother is usually well-rested in the morning.

At NFPI’s website, on the home page, scroll down on the left side and click “links.”  At links, you will find all kinds of information on what constitutes a safe surface and how to bed-share safely.  More information on safe sleep is also available in The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor (e-book or print).

Remember Linda Smith’s words:   “The sober, non-smoking, breastfeeding mother on a safe surface is NOT a risk to her baby.

More on this topic next week.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor

NFP: Effects of Breastfeeding and Non-Breastfeeding in a Community

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

In going over my old files, I found one mother’s view as written to me in 1971.

“I happened to grow up in a small, rural Catholic community. I saw the first baby totally bottlefed when I was 14 years old. The custom was to nurse a baby for at least 16-18 months. When the parish held its centennial in the early 1950s, they set a lot of records: no divorces in 100 years, only one crime, vocations per family as high as any in the nation (one family had 3 priests and 4 nuns), strong tie between parents and children.

Today in the same town a totally bottlefed generation is making the scene. The change has produced drastic results. There is no longer the strong bond between parents and children. Over half of the young mothers work outside of the home. They appear to lack the strong maternal feelings of their own mothers who would never leave their babies with sitters. Today one doesn’t see many babies or smaller children at public functions like weddings, church functions, neighborhood gatherings like in the past. More and more they are confined to the home and the parents go out alone. Many parents throw their hands up in the air when talking of their teenage children. Drinking and reckless driving has gotten out of hand completely among their teens, they say. There hasn’t been a religious vocation in the last couple of years. On the surface this parish seems to be having more trouble than most with the children. I know there has been many changes in living to account for some of these troubles but I STILL wonder if the switch to bottlefeeding didn’t lay the ground work especially in the area of family unity? I forgot to mention that at one time breastfeeding was the only method of birth control. When bottlefeeding became popular more couples were reluctant to use rhythm; for a while some couples had a new baby every 11 months or babies very close — like 8 in 7 years. Once rhythm became popular and the ONLY alternative for these Catholics, the younger couples began to rebel (20 to 30 years of nothing but rhythm seemed ridiculous) so today they are switching to contraceptives.

I realize that in this day that breastfeeding alone isn’t the whole answer in controlling births, especially if a small family is desired. However, in talking with young Catholic students, I found them more receptive to the Church’s teaching on birth control when breastfeeding with its natural spacing factor was added to the list of Church approved methods. Most of them had no idea that breastfeeding had anything to do with infertility.

I realize that my views on breastfeeding are very subjective but I am prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak out and to work in this area. One might say I am angry for God’s glory.”

(PS: This mother had a brother-in-law who worked in Peru among the Indians. She said that the Indians there nursed for 3-4 years and the mothers didn’t offer any liquid from the cup. The children just imitate when ready. Also he said the missionaries and French nuns discouraged breastfeeding past one year because they felt the children should be more aggressive like American children. This mother has then wondered since then how much bottlefeeding and violence go together and has written letters requesting a study be done on sex offenders, drug addicts, hippies, etc. to find out how many were nursed for a year or longer. She uses a year as a starting point to eliminate all restricted forms of nursing.)