Archive for June, 2017

Breastfeeding is a public health imperative.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The breastfeeding rates here in the States and elsewhere are exceptionally low.  The Exclusive Breastfeeding rates for six months are also low…ranging from 14% to 22% depending on location and race.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offered 19 recommendations for professionals and support groups in the ultimate goal of improving the breastfeeding rates. (“The Breastfeeding-Friendly Pediatric Office Practice,” April 2017)  The AAP recommends Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months followed by 1 year or longer of breastfeeding.  In this report the importance of breastfeeding is emphasized “as a public health imperative.”

The huge problem, however, is that without the practice of the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding—or something very close to it—most mothers will have their milk supply way down before 12 months.  This is an exemplary case of demand and supply.  Reduced demand yields reduced or no supply.

One of the benefits of Ecological Breastfeeding is that the mother usually has plenty of milk and is able to nurse for a year or longer.  Ecological Breastfeeding is also an excellent way to space the birth of babies.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding: Is it Contraception or an NFP Method or Neither?

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

It may surprise you, but Ecological Breastfeeding is controversial among Catholics.  Some say breastfeeding is a form of contraception.  They say that a breastfeeding mother is avoiding conception with breastfeeding’s natural suppression of ovulation.  But the baby is nursing not the mother, and every nursing mother knows that she cannot force a baby to nurse.  When Saint John Paul II promoted breastfeeding for health reasons, he also noted its natural child spacing effect.

Others say that breastfeeding can’t be called a natural family planning method because it does not involve charting fertility/infertility or follow a fertility awareness system.  But for about 94% of breastfeeding moms, their first period is all they need by way of fertility awareness.

In reality, Ecological Breastfeeding is definitely a form of natural baby spacing.  That’s why we teach that there are two distinct forms of natural family planning—systematic NFP and Ecological Breastfeeding.  Realistically, couples who learn Ecological Breastfeeding from NFPI and intend to use it as their only “spacer” will probably be charting in the later months of amenorrhea so that they can accurately determine the temperature-based “due date” for their next baby if they achieve pregnancy before their first menses.

I’m reviewing some standards set by a USCCB committee in which it says several times that all phases of the reproductive cycle must be taught.  In a high school physiology class I was taught by a wonderful teacher that the reproductive cycle ended with breastfeeding, not childbirth.  She knew something about the effect that breastfeeding had on inhibiting ovulation.  Of course, eventually menstruation and fertility returns for the nursing mother, and the reproductive cycle can start once again.  It is unfortunate that this has been lost in part of the NFP movement.

Let’s do a survey!  Let’s ask 10 ecologically breastfeeding mothers if they are practicing contraception.  Of course, their answer is NO.  Then let’s ask these same breastfeeding mothers if they are practicing a form of natural family planning.  Of course, their answer would be YES because they are using the most natural form of natural baby spacing—God’s plan for both mother and baby.  However, it seems that some of those involved with NFP in the Church will say the answer to the second question is NO for  eco-breastfeeding mothers.

These mothers are not practicing NFP?  Really?

Any comments on this dilemma are welcome!

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Medical Release Form for Not Breastfeeding

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Last week the blog was on research that emphasized no formula feedings.  Years ago John and I developed a release form for not choosing to breastfeed.  This form is based on a medical release that John had to sign before his eye surgery; it is not used for natural family planning classes.  It is, however, very popular at breastfeeding conferences.   This release form is below:

When Choosing Not to Breastfeed

NAME OF THE BABY:____________________

SITUATION:  I have chosen not to breastfeed my baby for personal and/or for medical reasons.  I understand that not-breastfeeding entails health risks to my baby and to myself.  While my formula-fed baby may be healthy, I understand that research shows that breastfed children are overall healthier as babies and also in their later years compared to their formula-fed peers.  While I may be healthy now and in later years, I understand that research shows that I may suffer some adverse consequences from not breastfeeding.

RECOMMENDATIONS:*  Mothers should do exclusive breastfeeding for six months and nurse for at least one year.  Anything less is second best.

ALTERNATIVE:  I may choose to use donated breastmilk.

I understand that medicine, breastfeeding, and formula-feeding are not exact sciences.  I understand, however, scientific research shows that not-breastfeeding exposes my baby to increased risks of the following diseases:
• leukemia                      • lymphoma
• type 1 diabetes            • obesity
• diarrhea                       • type 2 diabetes
• allergies                       • ear infections
• asthma                        • respiratory tract infections
• eczema                        • urinary tract infections
• bacterial meningitis       • multiple sclerosis
• botulism                      • inflammatory bowel disease
• gastroenteritis             • necrotizing enterocolitis
• Crohn’s disease           • ulcerative colitis
• autoimmune thyroid disease
• sudden infant death syndrome

I realize my child may have a poorer school performance with lower cognitive scores during grade school and high school.  Likewise there might be more doctors’ visits and hospital visits because I did not breastfeed.

By not breastfeeding I understand that I, as the biological mother, may have an increased risk for the following diseases:
• breast cancer               • ovarian cancer
• lupus                          • thyroid cancer
• anemia                        • endometrial cancer
• rheumatoid arthritis
• osteoporosis (increased chance of a hip fracture)

I hereby certify that I have read (or have had read to me) and understand the possible risks of not breastfeeding my baby, whether by choice or for medical reasons.  All of my questions regarding the risks have been answered to my satisfaction.
Mother’s Signature:_____________________________Date;____________________
Witness/Professional Signature:__________________________Date:______________

*The above recommendations and risks are found at the following websites:  American Academy of Pediatrics:, American Academy of Family Physicians:, and the U. S. Breastfeeding Committee:  See USBC’s “The Benefits of Breastfeeding” and “The Economics of Breastfeeding.”

© 2006 Sheila Kippley.