Natural Family Planning with Ecological Breastfeeding

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

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