Archive for the ‘Ecological Breastfeeding’ Category

Natural Family Planning: Why NFP International Is Needed

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

By the fall of 2004 it was becoming clear to us that the NFP organization we founded in 1971 was making changes or dropping the three main teachings we brought to that organization that had served people so well for the 32 years of our leadership.

These three main teachings are called the Triple Strand.  We think the Triple Strand is so good that it needs to be kept alive and spread– we think that everybody in the world has the right to know these things.  Further, we think that our two specific charisms (the eco-breastfeeding and the covenant theology) are special gifts from God and have been confirmed by the actions and words of St. John Paul II.  In addition, Dr. Konald Prem’s teaching of the sympto-thermal method is superior to other NFP methods and should continue to be taught.  Thus this was the main reason, among others, as to why we started NFP International.

Regarding ecological breastfeeding
In 1995 St. John Paul II co-hosted with the Royal Society of England a conference on breastfeeding at the Vatican.  In his talk, he endorsed the recommendations of UNICEF and the WHO for mothers to breastfeed for two years and beyond.  Frequent suckling is the only way that a mother will have a milk supply at 12, 18, and 24 months.  And the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding are a mother’s best assurance of frequent suckling. Some couples use only eco-bf to space their babies apart.  We know of two mothers who have written a series of blogs about the Seven Standards.  One’s website was called something like “Crunchy Lutheran Mom.”  The other wrote for her diocesan paper in Ireland.

Regarding the Covenant theology
In 1994, ten years after he completed his opus magnum of the Theology of the Body, the Pope wrote a short document titled “Letter to Families from John Paul II.”  In it he specifically endorsed the covenant theology.  “In the conjugal act, husband and wife are called to confirm in a responsible way the mutual gift of self which they have made to each other in the marriage covenant.”  This may be the first time a Pope has used such terminology.  Scott Hahn, a rather famous convert, told me that I am the first person (of whom he is aware) to put that concept into writing.  I can’t prove or disprove his opinion, but I take it seriously because he is the best-read person I know.  My book, Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant, was the occasion for him and his wife to learn this when they were married students in a Protestant seminary.  At the time, Scott considered himself the most anti-Catholic member of the student body.  I consider it divine Providence that another couple in their married student housing complex lent that book to his wife, Kimberly, whose father was the fairly well known pastor of a Presbyterian church in North College Hill.

Regarding the Prem STM
In 1976-1978 the US Bishops NFP organization persuaded NIH to conduct a study to compare the Billings mucus-only system with the cross-checking sympto-thermal system.  The results were so much in favor of the STM that the investigators stopped the study.  The difference was something like twice as many unplanned pregnancies in the mucus-only section.  It was a randomized study, and the investigators could no longer pretend that they didn’t know which half of the study was more effective in avoiding pregnancy.  Yet two of the principal mucus-only advocates put up such a fuss that these results are by and large ignored.  All too many mucus-only advocates have the diocesan NFP jobs.

Soooooo, in a nutshell, that’s why we feel obliged to do what we can to keep these ideas alive.

John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach
From July 19th to the evening of August 7th (NFP Awareness Week through World Breastfeeding Week) anyone can purchase the following printed books at a 40% discount at lulu:
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Battle-Scarred: Justice Can Be Elusive
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Breastfeeding: An easy treatment for sore nipples

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Cochrane reported on a study for treating sore nipples for breastfeeding mothers (December 15, 2014). Cochrane is an independent non-profit, non-government organization in 130 countries with over 31,000 volunteers. In the field of human health, it does systematic reviews of primary research that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest.

What did the Cochrane report state regarding sore nipples?  First, many women quit breastfeeding during the first few weeks of breastfeeding; the most common reason given for quitting was sore nipples.  Four clinical trials were studied involving 656 women and 5 treatments (glycerine pads, lanolin with breast shells, lanolin alone, expressed breast milk, and an all-purpose nipple ointment) plus all women were educated on proper positioning of the infant at the breast.

Second, there was not one of these treatments that could be highly recommended; third,  usually within 7 to 10 days the situation improved regardless of the method used.

Warm Air from a Portable Hair Dryer
Sore nipples (in spite of following the La Leche instructions on treatment of the nipples before and after birth) were a problem for me.  After the birth of our fourth daughter in 1972, I had an especially difficult situation.  Nothing LLL recommended worked for me.  I even went without a bra, but even the shirt I wore bothered my nipples.

A good friend, Rose Busam, who at that time was a La Leche League leader and trained leaders-to-be, told me to apply warm air repeatedly using a portable hair dryer.  I used the dryer after each nursing and whenever I thought about using it.  If I remember correctly, I was fine within a full 24-hour period!  The quick relief was wonderful, and it was all due to the warm drying air.

Another case was helped by the hair dryer.  A nursing mother had a deep sore due to her baby’s bite near her nipple.  When it looked like it was healing, it would tend to open up again while breastfeeding her baby.  She was extremely concerned as to how she could get this wound to heal.  I recommended the portable hair dryer treatment and it worked.

If you are having a problem with sore nipples, please give this treatment a try.  It costs nothing as most of us have a hair dryer in our home.  One caution would be to have the warm air flow gently over the breastfeeding area.  Avoid a real strong force of air.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Pope Francis’ Encyclical: A Significant Omission

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis offers contemporary Western cultures some worthy challenges.  The extent to which optional human activity contributes to climate change is open to debate, but it seems to me that it is just a matter of common sense to conserve our non-renewable natural resources.  Some of it can start right within churches.  It just seems wasteful that I have to wear a jacket in an exclusively cooled church.

Pope Francis covered many subjects, but it seems to me that his non-treatment of breastfeeding, and especially ecological breastfeeding, is truly a significant omission.

The purpose of this encyclical was to discuss “the present ecological crisis” and then “to offer guidelines for human development.” (15)  I thought of ecological breastfeeding when the Pope Francis discussed pollution related to health because pollution “causes millions of premature deaths,” (20) and causes accumulated waste of harmful substances and filth (21). But he said nothing about the number one cause of death worldwide for children under five, namely the absence of breastfeeding.  That is why the World Health Organization and Saint John Paul II encouraged mothers to nurse for at least two years.  About 1.5 million babies would be saved each year if mothers exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and continued to breastfeed into the second year (Superfood for Babies: How overcoming barriers to breastfeed will save children’s lives by Save the Children, 2013).

Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of the following diseases for babies and children: allergies, asthma, bacterial meningitis, botulism, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, ear infections, eczema, gastroenteritis, leukemia, autoimmune thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, obesity, respiratory tract infections, sudden infant death syndrome, ulcerative colitis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and urinary tract infections. That’s 22 health advantages of breastfeeding for the child, and every year new benefits are discovered.

Breastfeeding also reduces the incidence of the following diseases for the mother: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, lupus, and osteoporosis.  More current research for both mother and baby are found at the categories for Breastfeeding Research at the right side of this blog.

Regarding waste, if mothers worldwide breastfed for two years there would be a great reduction in the production of formula, bottles, pacifiers, baby food and related jars, and feminine products, and a consequent reduction of waste and filth.

The Pope mentioned “reproductive health” (50).  The best reproductive health that God gave humankind since the beginning of time is nursing according to the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  These Standards are simple maternal behaviors that encourage frequent and unrestricted nursing.  Ecological Breastfeeding postpones the return of menses and fertility for 14 to 15 months, on average.  The Pope and the Church need to promote ecological breastfeeding to the world.  Governments sometimes stress the need for “birth control” so that there is a spacing of births for the health of the mother.  God has already given humankind a natural way to space babies, and it’s free.

There is no need to buy formula or the baby food products.  Pope Francis speaks of boycotting certain products.  I think of just not purchasing products, such as formula, etc.  Also one can avoid buying baby cards which picture baby bottles or pacifiers on the card.

The Pope also spoke of his concern for crime and violence.  Many in the past have written about the breastfeeding relationship as a crime-preventive factor; they have noted the importance of the first three years with the mother as crucial for building a healthy human being, but there was nothing about the crucial first three years in this encyclical.  Pope Francis spoke of our need to be fully present to someone (226) and that we need one another (229) and the importance of close relationships.  The extended breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby exemplifies all of these.  He mentioned the “abandonment of the elderly” but unfortunately did not mention the abandonment of the very young which is common in our society where babies and little ones are left in the care of others.

The Pope says we need to change the ecological crisis and educate others plus the Church so everyone responds to a new lifestyle.  We need “leadership capable of striking out on new paths” (53) and we need to be concerned for all people.  We need “a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.” (189)  Yet earlier the Pope states that “the worldwide ecological movement” has been ineffective, lacks interest or has opposition.  I would say the same about my Catholic Church.  We have promoted the benefits of ecological breastfeeding for over 45 years  and basically the message has been ignored by the Church, except by a few.  So I challenge the Pope to take up the cause.  We will have a healthier Church as a result and a better quality of human life.

What is so disappointing about this significant omission is that the proper inclusion of ecological breastfeeding could have influenced millions of mothers to adopt it.  I’m quite ignorant about how many people will turn up their thermostats during hot weather, and how much that will help the macro-environment.  But the research is solid and repeated over and over—breastfeeding is best for babies and mothers, and the frequent nursing with the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding maximizes all the benefits of breastfeeding and, on average, it delays the return of menstruation and fertility for 14 to 15 months.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood