Archive for 2017

Ecological Breastfeeding IS Natural Family Planning BUT it’s different!

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The presence of ecological breastfeeding has definite advantages that no other NFP method has.  Sure, you can say systematic NFP reduces cancer, but that derives from the absence of the use of hormonal birth control and not in the use of systematic NFP.

The presence of ecological breastfeeding has many advantages, unlike other methods of NFP including the Sympto-Thermal method that we teach.  That’s because all the other “methods” are based on fertility awareness and abstinence during the fertile time.

Ecological breastfeeding offers 1, 2 or occasionally 3 years of extended infertility (no menstruation).  Other NFP methods do not offer that.

Ecological breastfeeding offers 1, 2, or occasionally 3 years of NO abstinence.  Other NFP methods do not offer that.

Ecological breastfeeding saves lives.  Those are babies’ lives as well as women’s lives.  Other NFP systems cannot do that.

For the mother, ecological breastfeeding protects against breast cancer, ovarian cancer, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, lupus, osteoporosis and heart disease.  Other NFP methods cannot do that except negatively—the absence of abortifacient hormonal birth control.

For the baby, ecological breastfeeding protects against allergies, asthma, bacterial meningitis, botulism, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, ear infections, eczema, gastroenteritis, leukemia, lymphoma, autoimmune thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, necrotizing enterocolitis, obesity, respiratory tract infections, SIDS, ulcerative colitis, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and urinary tract infections.   Other NFP methods do not do that.

The presence of ecological breastfeeding requires NO charting or device or app which are associated with the NFP fertility-awareness methods.

Ecological breastfeeding—or a pattern very similar to eco-breastfeeding—is truly God’s plan for mother and baby.  For this natural plan we are indeed very grateful.  However, when there is a sufficiently serious reason to practice another method of NFP, we are also truly grateful for the science behind these methods and for their availability.

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

Natural Family Planning with Ecological Breastfeeding

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

A breastfeeding survey is an instrument used to determine various factors related to the duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea—the absence of periods while breastfeeding.  We have used such surveys since 1969, and they are the basis for studies published in 1972 and 1986.   Occasionally an explanatory letter accompanies the survey, and that’s what we publish below.  The survey indicated that the mother intentionally decreased the amount of suckling time, decreased the amount of working out, and intentionally gained 5-7 pounds over a six-month period.  She claimed that these factors caused a return of menstruation at 16½ months and the return of her fertility.

This survey came from Missouri, the “Show Me” state, and her experiences certainly showed her the value of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Read her comments below:

Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood has been a wonderful resource and source of inspiration and encouragement for me.  I have read it cover to cover 6 times (so far)!  I also utilize Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing for info as well.  That book fully convicted me to use the Seven Standards.  I feel so bonded with my now 16 month old son.  The connection between breastfeeding and Theology of the Body is apparent to me.  La Leche League and The womanly Art of Breastfeeding have also been invaluable to me.  I love nursing my son and will nurse any future children we are blessed with using the 7 Standards.  I have also read Sheila’s writing on the first 3 years.  As a result, my last day of working outside the home was the day before I went into labor.  Although I loved my job as an RN and was very proud of my 10 year career I know my son will only be small for a short period of time.  Prior to becoming pregnant my husband and I lived only off of his income so that if God ever blessed us with children it would be very easy for me to stay at home.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  Our society needs to return to strong families and moral values, and breastfeeding is a big part of that return.  Thank you for your commitment to this important work.  I will pray for you all, and you can pray for my husband and me to be blessed with many more children.”

I thanked her for her survey and she replied:  “Although I knew and know in my heart that staying home with my son is the right choice, it was still hard for me to verbalize to people that ‘I stay home with my son.’  I was very proud of my 10 year nursing career but I am even more proud to do what God is calling me to do.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my survey, but I am currently trying to limit the amount of extended suckling my son does but I am NOT trying to wean him. My husband and I are very hopeful for many more children and hope that God will bless us with a pregnancy this month!”  L. P.

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

Natural Family Planning: The Role of Menstruation as a Fertility Awareness Method

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Within the current NFP Movement, more attention needs to be paid to the value of menstruation (or menses) as a marker of fertility and infertility among mothers who are breastfeeding. While this is very important among mothers doing Ecological Breastfeeding, it is also significant for all breastfeeding mothers.

There are two studies at our website that looked at the relative infertility of the time before a breastfeeding mother’s first postpartum period.  In 1895, Dr. Leonard Remfry found that only five percent of breastfeeding mothers became pregnant before their first period. In 1971, Dr. Konald A. Prem, working with La Leche League breastfeeding mothers, found that six percent of these mothers became pregnant before their first period. (Since today’s fertility awareness was unknown in Dr. Remfry’s time and not widely practiced in Dr. Prem’s time, I assume that the women in these studies did not practice fertility-based periodic abstinence from the marriage act.) To put that in terms of current “effectiveness” terminology, that means that breastfeeding-in-general has a typical-use delayed fertility effectiveness of 94% prior to the first postpartum menstruation. That compares favorably with the typical-use rate of today’s common forms of fertility awareness.

What are recognized fertility awareness methods? Two Day Method, Standards Days Method, rhythm, monitoring devices, mucus, temperature, and cervix. Sometimes the Lactational Amenorrhea Method is included. But ecological breastfeeding is ignored and so is menstruation.

With contemporary Western cultural breastfeeding, the first menstruation will occur very early, sometimes within a few weeks postpartum. The situation is significantly different among mothers following the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Our research found that these mothers will experience an average of 14.5 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea with a range of both shorter and longer durations.  Two recent breastfeeding surveys illustrate this well. An Italian mother experienced 37 months of postpartum breastfeeding amenorrhea, and a French mother went 16 months with breastfeeding amenorrhea. The Italian experience is at the far end of the spectrum of duration; the French experience is just a month more than the average. In both cases, the mothers regarded this first period as a sign that fertility was returning

In a regular cycle, menstruation is usually a sign of infertility and fertility. At the end of a cycle a woman can be infertile up until the heavy flow ends. Once menstruation lightens, we know fertility will return sometime in the near future of that cycle..

The bottom line is this: Relying solely on the first postpartum menstruation as a sign of returning fertility is a Fertility Awareness Based Method of Natural Family Planning. By “solely” I mean that the couple is not practicing fertility-awareness-based abstinence or any form of contraception. This has almost no significance for mothers doing Western cultural breastfeeding because fertility returns so soon. However, for couples doing Ecological Breastfeeding, this abstinence-free type of Natural Family Planning can be significant.

All couples have a right to learn these things. It is a basic principle of psychology that a person is not free to make a choice for something good unless he knows what it is. That’s why I think the Church should make sure that all engaged and married couples learn the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding. That choice should be theirs, not that of a bureaucracy.

For the eco-breastfeeding mother, the long absence of menstruation is a sign of infertility and the return of menstruation can be a sign of returning fertility. In this sense, menstruation is a fertility awareness-based method.
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
All studies mentioned in this blog can be found at the NFPI website.