Archive for May, 2019

Natural Family Planning: The Daily Nap for Natural Spacing

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

When I had little ones I noticed that other moms, even bottle-feeding mothers, would take the phone off the hook and take a short nap.  This was back in the early 60s.  We needed the rest; it refreshed the mother to deal with the rest of the day.   Children in kindergarten in those days took a rug to school so they could lie down for a short rest.  Why not children at home?  When I had a baby, a two-year old, and a  four-year old, we would all get into bed together and rest sometime after lunch.  I would let the four-year old know that we would get up in 30 minutes if she was still awake.  Another mother laid across the only door to the room.  Her other children could not leave the room without waking her.

The Daily Nap became the Fifth Standard of Ecological Breastfeeding.  That afternoon nap with a nursing baby is important.

That was illustrated by 3 surveys I recently received from a mother who used primarily a pattern of ecological breastfeeding for her three babies born when she was ages 27, 32, and 35.

With all 3 babies, this mother did exclusive breastfeeding for 7 months, did extended breastfeeding (6 years, 4 1/4 years and 4.3/4 years), used no schedules, pacifiers or bottles, slept with her babies during the night (for 39 months, 29 months-3 weeks, and 41 months-2 weeks), always left the house with her babies until they were 18, 13 and 14 months old), and relied on breastfeeding amenorrhea with all three babies without conceiving.

This mother was very good about following the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding with her first baby and went 25 month-1 week before the return of her first menstruation.

With her second baby, she did not do the daily nursing naps during the first 6 months postpartum.  At 5 months-2 weeks, she experienced her first menses.  She began the daily nursing nap with the baby and went back into amenorrhea until 16 months postpartum. 

With her third baby, she had some bleeding and began again the daily nursing nap.  She went back into breastfeeding amenorrhea for 3 more months and had her menstruation return at 14 months-2 weeks.  She felt she experienced an early return of menstruation with this baby because he was interested in playing with siblings and grandparents.

I would encourage any mother who is interested in natural child spacing to consider following all the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding and not drop that Fifth Standard of taking the daily nap with your nursing baby.

Comment from the mother of these surveys: “I’m grateful to have had your books available.  I re-read them to troubleshoot, which is how I knew to start napping again. You made a real difference in our lives. Thank you.”

Sheila Kippley
Author: The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding



Natural Family Planning and Response to a Dissenter

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

I was theologically active at the time of Humanae Vitae.  I examined the arguments offered by the dissenting theologians.  I found them so inadequate that I wrote a book defending the received teaching and criticizing the dissenters’ arguments.  For its second edition I retitled it as “Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant.”  It was that edition that found its way into the hands of Kimberly and Scott Hahn when they were students in a Protestant seminary.  It helped persuade them of the truth of the received teaching affirmed by Humanae Vitae, and such acceptance was a step towards their entry into full communion with the Catholic Church.  An expanded version is now published as “Sex and the Marriage Covenant” by Ignatius.  In March 1971, the generally liberal journal Theological Studies published my article “Continued Dissent: Is It Responsible Loyalty?” in which I showed that the decision-making principles of arch-dissenter Fr. Charles Curran could not say NO even to spouse-swapping.  To the best of my knowledge, no one ever accused me of making a “straw-man” argument.

I suggest that you read those things before you waste lots of time and effort trying to support the dissenting position, a position that is unsupportable except in the context of situation ethics which is incompatible with Christian discipleship.

The only thing really surprising in Humanae Vitae is an amazing omission in Section 17 which deals with the consequences of the societal acceptance of unnatural forms of birth control.  In 1930 when the Anglican bishops were debating birth control, their conservatives pointed out that the acceptance of marital contraception would logically entail the acceptance of sodomy.  Not only were they correct, but today the Anglicans accept as bishops those who are openly involved in the practice of sodomy and calling it marriage.  I regret that Pope Paul VI did not include this important bit of history.

At our website you can find lots more to support Humanae Vitae and to uphold the dignity of women as mothers.  Nowhere else will you find so much support for the kind of breastfeeding that actually DOES naturally postpone the return of fertility.  We have to call it “Ecological Breastfeeding” to distinguish if from the styles of breastfeeding that have little or no effect on the return of fertility.

Future historians will record Humanae Vitae as a bright spot in Catholic history.

John Kippley
Sex and the Marriage Covenant

Natural Family Planning and Dissent

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

This is a response to an apparent dissenter who replied to a previous article. The dissent position can’t say NO to any imaginable sexual activity between two consenting adults.

My impression is that the primary criticism of the dissent position and positive support of Humanae Vitae has come from the laity.  I’m thinking of people such as Germain Grisez, Mary and Robert Joyce, William E. May, Ralph McInerney, and Janet Smith over the years.  More recently we have seen good things from Mary Eberstadt and George Weigel and others.  Then there are all the leaders in the natural family planning movement.  Sheila and I have had our part in this effort, both theological and practical with publications and other efforts, starting before Humanae Vitae.  And, of course, all of us who have been public in our support for HV have also been supported intellectually, spiritually and emotionally supported by believing Catholic priests.

Germany plays a special role in all of this.  It was in a German medical journal in February of 1930 that the article of Kyusaku Ogino was published concerning the fertile time and explaining his calculations of the infertile time—the beginnings of Calendar Rhythm.  When folks properly understood it, they could practice it with great effectiveness.  Our landlord in 1964 told us that he and his wife had practiced the Ogino-Knaus method with 100% effectiveness and only three children in the Thirties and Forties.  I have long wondered if the Anglicans were informed about it.  About six months after its publication, the offered only two options for couples who did not want more children: either complete abstinence or contraception.  Sad.

It was also in Germany that a Catholic priest in the early thirties put together the rhythm calculations with medical information about a post-ovulation temperature shift to give birth to the more effective Calendar-Temperature system.

In 1967, just after the conclusion of the initial birth control commission documents but before Humanae Vitae, the study of Dr. G. K. Doering was published in a German medical journal.  It showed a 99% percent level of effectiveness among those who followed the rules of his temperature-only system, and a 97% effectiveness among those couples who also engaged in the marriage act during the time of pre-ovulation infertility and some who had relations at the most fertile time.  We have that study at the NFPI website.  My question:  is it possible that the German bishops were completely ignorant about this ground-breaking study?  Did they then share that information with Pope Paul VI?  Or were they so moved by the already widespread contraceptive mentality of the mid-Sixties that they did not so inform the Pope?

That’s enough for now.

John Kippley