Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

Natural Family Planning & Ecological Breastfeeding: The Seven Standards Do Work

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Almost all mothers can enjoy the natural spacing of their children’s births with ecological breastfeeding.    God in His wisdom gave us a way to nourish and nurture our children and to space the birth of our babies.

Mothers who remain with their babies and nurse frequently day and night by following the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding will usually have, on average, 14 to 15 months without any menstruation.

Research has shown that frequent and unrestricted nursing day and night provides natural infertility after childbirth, and that it is the short intervals between feedings that keep the reproductive system at rest.  These short intervals are common among those mothers following the Seven Standards.  The Seven Standards are simply maternal behaviors associated with an extended period of natural amenorrhea.

I have permission to quote from a breastfeeding survey which arrived recently.  The mother lives in Sweden and practiced the Seven Standards with her first baby.  Remember, I mentioned above the importance of having short intervals between feedings.  She and her husband wanted another child, so they lengthened one interval so that her fertility would return.  Here is what she said:

“Baby #1 was 18 months when my husband and I really wanted to have another baby.  I was still in breastfeeding amenorrhea.  I went to visit a friend and stayed away for 5-6 hours, knowing Baby would be emotionally well with Dad.  It was a sudden change in nursing frequency which quickly brought back my period.  I was fertile right away after that and conceived.  I deliberately “broke out of” amenorrhea so to speak.  Previous to this separation, I had never gone so many hours without nursing.  My breasts were full and Baby nursed happily on my return.  It was the sudden change that brought back my fertility.  I made sure it wasn’t gradual because we wanted to conceive.

“After this one experience, though, I continued nursing like before day and night.  After getting pregnant I kept nursing, but during the pregnancy the nursings got more and more infrequent.  Baby said it tasted funny/yucky.  It was painful and uncomfortable for me to nurse and my milk supply dropped.  The longest Baby went without nursing during the pregnancy was 5 days, the 5 days prior to delivery.

“Once in labour I nursed Baby and realized I would probably tandem nurse.  After the birth of Baby #2, Baby #1 wanted to nurse frequently again.  For the first 2 months postpartum, Baby #1 nursed up to 3-4 times a day.  At 3 months postpartum Baby #1 nursed once a day, in the mornings (first thing!).  At 7.5 months postpartum, Baby #1 would skip his daily nurse once in a while until he stopped altogether at 9.5 months postpartum.  He was 3 years, 7 months and 2 weeks old when he nursed for the last time!  He still sleeps in our room, but in his own bed.”
Mothers are encouraged to print out the breastfeeding survey, complete their experiences with ecological breastfeeding, and return to NFPI using the address on the survey.

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

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The language that Pope Francis used about family size certainly got attention, but the Church has always taught that a couple does not have to seek to have as many children as they can have, biologically speaking.  As soon as there was scientific speculation that women, like many other mammals, have periodic fertility, the Vatican stated that it would be legitimate for a couple to abstain during the fertile time of the cycle in order to avoid pregnancy—and that was in 1850. The Church teaches that a couple can use systematic natural family planning if they have a sufficiently serious reason.  Such reasons are given in Humanae Vitae.

The Pope also referred to natural family planning which today is highly effective when understood and practiced by couples who have a real need to avoid pregnancy, especially if they use a system that cross-checks two of the fertility signs.

Much has also been made of the Pope’s reference that humans should not produce like rabbits.  In the old days, two babies born within a 12-month span sometimes were called “Catholic twins.”  What is not mentioned in all the discussions on this topic is that God has a plan for spacing our children’s births.  A physiology teacher in the Fifties taught in her high school class that the reproductive cycle ends with breastfeeding.  She was a wonderful teacher.  Of course, as one of her students, I did not fully understand what that all meant.  Unfortunately today everyone assumes that the reproductive cycle ends with childbirth.  Not so, if you take nature as your norm.  Repeated research has shown that mothers who practice ecological breastfeeding experience, on average, 14 to 15 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea (no periods), some less and some much more.

We are the only American NFP organization that teaches the Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding, a form of natural mothering that spaces babies.  The Seven Standards are simply maternal behaviors associated with extended breastfeeding amenorrhea. For example, no bottles, no formula, no pacifiers, no babysitting, no strict schedules, and more.  See the Seven Standards.  The key is mother-baby closeness and frequent suckling.  Some mothers may not be able to practice eco-breastfeeding for various reasons; but among those who do, their appreciation is frequently huge.

World and Church leaders should promote ecological breastfeeding whenever natural family planning is discussed.  Couples should be able to learn this option for planning their families.
Witness: “The Kippleys’ teaching about ecological breastfeeding was instrumental to my conversion, not only to the fullness of Church teaching on marriage, but to the Catholic faith itself.  I was a 30-something, “childless-by-choice”, nominal Protestant when I encountered it and my heart was so changed that I became Catholic within a year, AND became pregnant with my first child.  My husband and I used ONLY ecological breastfeeding to space our three children going forward, and our marriage and family life has been immeasurably enriched.  Bishops who encourage this teaching are truly evangelizing in a desperately needed way in today’s world.” Pamela Pilch
Another witness:  “Since our marriage, my husband and I have used ecological breastfeeding to space our 6 children, you guessed it, 2-3 years apart.  I hope to further your work to share ecological breastfeeding with the world!”  She adds the benefits:  “no menstrual bleeding, no cramps, migraines, PMS, or pads; and no ovulations—for years on end.  My husband and I have been free of what others call the “fear” of pregnancy, that is, free to enjoy each other intimately for years without any concerns or even [a] thought given to preventing pregnancy.  No potentially contentious discussions about whether to try for another baby.  No need to chart.  No need to take temps.  Simply letting God plan our family.  By the time my fertility has returned, we have been mentally in the place where another pregnancy and another baby seemed….well…natural!” Christelle Hagen
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

CNML supports Breastfeeding and Natural Family Planning

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Catholic Nursing Mothers League (CNML) is an excellent organization for supporting breastfeeding mothers.  I encourage priests and family life directors to consider having such a chapter in their parish.  All it takes is for one mother to come forward and have the desire to help mothers nurse their babies. The President of CNML, Gina Peterson, gives an example below as to what takes place at a CNML meeting.  She shows how a chapter can encourage and support breastfeeding and help families in the parish live the faith.
A CNML Meeting by Gina Peterson

Have you ever thought of combining your passion for breastfeeding with your love of your Catholic faith? Here is a snapshot of what might happen at a CNML meeting.  It is a true account based on conversations at two CNML meetings:

The four or five mothers arrive and sign in.  Everyone chats a bit and then introduces themselves and their children.  The CNML leader reads the CNML disclaimer and official statement and begins with a discussion starter from the CNML Resource Guide or simply waits for the discussion to enfold.

One mom who is pregnant tells everyone that she just weaned her son a few weeks ago and feels sad knowing this is the end of their breastfeeding relationship.  The CNML leader offers ideas for ways to “snuggle” with him, empathizes with her, and comments that since her son weaned so easily – without tears – that he must have been ready.  Another mother cheerfully notes that soon she will have a new baby to nurse :)

One of the mothers mentions that her baby has been spitting up excessively and she believes it is due to a dairy allergy.  She changed her diet and the baby’s symptoms have improved.  Another mom asks what her baby’s symptoms are and the CNML leader agrees that those are possible signs of food allergy listed in The Baby Book by the Sears family.

A mother asks if she should be giving her baby a certain amount of liquids and possibly cow’s milk now that he is one year old and only nurses a few times per day.  The CNML leader lets her know that she will look it up and then sends her a link to an informative online article on the dietary needs of breastfeeding toddlers.

CNML leader and the mothers discuss how wonderful a king-sized bed is for co-sleeping and that it is a great in investment.

One mother, who has spaced her family primarily through breastfeeding, asks where she can learn NFP.  The CNML leader offers her a brochure for the parish NFP instructor and shows her NFP International’s manual.  Another mother says that her periods returned much sooner than expected even though she was exclusively breastfeeding.  However, her son did start sleeping through the night fairly early on.  The CNML leader describes the seven standards of ecological breastfeeding and gives her a copy of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.

A mother shares the story of losing her baby just an hour after birth.  She inspires all the mothers with her great faith in God and faith that her sweet baby is in Jesus’ loving arms right now.

One mother mentions how her friend would love to nurse her newborn baby but she has inverted nipples.  The CNML leader reads from a breastfeeding book about how pumping will help keep up her supply until she receives assistance from a lactation consultant.  Also the book describes how to make a homemade nipple everter.  The leader gives the mom her business card to give to her friend, because she is also a volunteer lactation consultant.

A mother asks if there is a certain style of parenting that is uniquely Catholic. The CNML leader recommends the book, Parenting with Grace, by the Popcaks.

At the close of the meeting, the CNML leader hands out gift bags with one decade rosaries and other items, and the mothers pray a decade of the rosary together.
(Gina Peterson, November 26, 2014; CNML website:; Gina is also author of Getting Started with Breastfeeding for Catholic Mothers.)