Natural Family Planning and Natural Child Spacing

A reprint on Child-Spacing by Dr. Herbert Ratner was made available to me. He had a lot to say about this topic but, liking short blogs, I will offer this paragraph:

“An insidious and subtle factor abetting the popularization of artificial child-spacing stemmed from the steady displacement of breastfeeding by artificial infant-feeding. The bottle made it possible for the mother physically to disengage herself from her complementary coupling with the infant. The infant, thus, lost control over this mother’s ovulation, since ovulation resumes earlier and more consistently in the non-lactating woman. Accordingly, the “liberated” woman resulted in a “liberated” ovary, and artificial feeding led to abnormally close births and abnormal stresses and strains within the family.”
Dr. Ratner explained how the birth control movement took off because non-nursing mothers had babies every 11 to 12 months due to bottle-feeding. (Reprinted from International Review of Naturall Family Planning, Spring 1978)

Dr. Otto Schaefer spent over 30 years in northern Canada. He arrived promoting formula but was a constant note taker and soon discovered that breastfed babies were healthier. He also learned that the traditional small Inuit family of 3 to 4 children was due only to traditional breastfeeding. These mothers lost their natural birth spacing due to the introduction of the bottle. The result: “Many complained about having ‘too many kids around,’ one of the consequences of giving up breast feeding.” (Sunrise Over Pangnirtung: The Story of Otto Schaefer, M. D. by Gerald W. Hankins, M. D., The Arctic Institute of North America, 2000; a delightful book)

Since 1969, John and I have promoted natural child spacing within the Catholic Church. It is time that those doing the evangelization and educational works of the Church start to promote and teach Ecological Breastfeeding as a form of natural family planning. It was in a physiology class in the 1954-55 school year as a high school sophmore taught by an elderly lady with white hair that I learned for the first time the effect breastfeeding had on the woman’s menstrual cycle, that breastfeeding—not childbirth—was the end of the reproductive cycle.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding, a short read on how to space babies.

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