Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting

November 19th, 2017

The following is part of a talk I gave some years ago in Southern California.

My topic tonight is attachment parenting in a detached world.  If you as a parent said to your two-year-old child:  “I don’t love you anymore,” what would happen?   Your child would cry!  Your child and each person needs to feel loved, to feel special.  Love means helping the one we love.  It means service.  It means trust.  It means that someone likes to be near you.  It means sharing in someone’s pain or discomfort.  It means being inconvenienced.   It means sacrifice.  Parental love is caring love.

Babies especially need to experience the love of their mother and soon their father, and that is what attachment parenting is all about:  Conveying love to your child in various ways.

On the other hand, by detached parenting I mean ways that will be perceived by the child as less loving due to less involvement or distancing.  For example, some mothers who let their babies cry-it-out for 15-30- and even 45 minutes say they do this because they love their children and are teaching them that they are not the boss in the home.  I can’t judge any mother, but my point is that the baby will perceive that behavior as less loving than being picked up and comforted.

Some would define breastfeeding as attachment parenting.  Yet there is the rare situation where a nursing mom can be detached.  Some might say:  It’s certainly not bottle-feeding your baby.  Yet some of us know bottle-feeding moms and parents who are very attached to their baby.  In fact, the first couple we knew who took their baby everywhere with them were bottle-feeding their baby.

Thus attachment parenting is not necessarily defined by the type of feeding we give our baby.  However, I have promoted natural mothering for over 30 years [now 50 years], and I am convinced nature’s way is best.  Mothering is really what breastfeeding is all about.  Through breastfeeding, as mothers, we learn to give of our time, and we learn to give our child that special emotional and physical care to show that he is loved.  With breastfeeding the child receives plenty of that important lap time with mother.   Natural mothering, I believe, is at the heart of providing the best experience for the baby during the early years.

Breastfeeding offers an easy learning environment for the mother.   She learns how to be patient, how to be inconvenienced, how to be unselfish in providing the proper care for her child, and therefore she learns to love better.  I believe that both my husband and I are better parents because I chose to breastfeed.

And, most importantly, the breastfed baby or young child at a critical age is feeling loved and is learning how to trust.    The world tells us that we should strive to have that good baby, but my conviction is that the baby teaches its mother how to be a good mother, especially when she breastfeeds.
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Breastfeeding and Its Benefits

November 12th, 2017

Every year I write quite a few blogs that review the breastfeeding research for the previous year.  Each year the research is overwhelming on the benefits of breastfeeding.  The more I learn, the more I want to see churches, schools, and health care program do more to educate their people about these blessings God wants to give babies and their mothers.  Certainly the Church should be doing more to teach the abstinence-free natural baby spacing that results from the right kind of breastfeeding.

I’m excited to inform our readers about some important research that was recently published.  Two studies deal with situations that are sometimes controversial—SIDS and bonding.

Breastfeeding (partial or exclusive) for two months cuts the risk of SIDS in half.   The longer the mother breastfeeds, the greater the protection.  (Pediatrics, October 2017)  A common reaction to SIDS is a fear-inducing message to new parents that they must never sleep with their baby.  On the contrary, the truly safe sleeping pattern is one that follows the safe-sleeping rules.  For guidelines on safe bed-sharing with baby, go to links at the NFP International website ( left column) .

The other research showed that breastfeeding aids bonding between mother and child up to age 11.  As the researchers concluded: “Breastfeeding was observed to have positive consequences for maternal sensitivity beyond the infant–toddler period. Mothers who persisted in breastfeeding for a longer duration increased their maternal sensitivity over time, suggesting that breastfeeding may set in motion a cascade of positive benefits for mothers in their parenting behaviors.”  Mothers and child were observed at 8 different times during the course of this study which involved 1,272 families. The mothers averaged only 17 weeks of breastfeeding.   “It was surprising to us that breastfeeding duration predicted change over time in maternal sensitivity,” said the study’s lead author, Jennifer Weaver, PhD, of Boise State University. “We had prior research suggesting a link between breastfeeding and early maternal sensitivity, but nothing to indicate that we would continue to see effects of breastfeeding significantly beyond the period when breastfeeding had ended.”   (Developmental Psychology, October 2017)

The next four blogs will deal with the importance of the mother’s breastfeeding and her presence to her baby.
Sheila Kippley


Natural Family Planning International

November 5th, 2017
  • We need your help to keep sharing this information with those who seek us on the internet. The NFPI teaching manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, is available online for only $10.
  • We need your help to keep offering personalized instruction with the NFPI Home Study Course. Users typically give it a 9 or 10 in their evaluation. No matter how small their town or how irregular their schedule, anyone can now have first-class instruction at their own pace.
  • You know that marital contraception is the elephant in the living room, the rectory and even the sanctuary. You know that the widespread acceptance of marital contraception has led not only to the consequences predicted by Blessed Paul VI but also to the widespread acceptance of both marital sodomy and same-sex sodomy and now to widespread societal acceptance of same-sex “marriage.”
  • Please help us to keep making a difference. Please help us to educate priests and bishops. Help us to reach out to couples via contemporary media. Please help us to share these beautiful teachings with the entire Church and the world.  Please make a difference in the lives of pastors and their people by generously supporting the NFP International apostolate.

Please send your most generous gift to NFP International. Everything helps, both large and small.   Thank you very much for your help.  We will use it well.  Donations are very much needed to keep NFPI alive.
John and Sheila Kippley, Co-founders and volunteers

I want to make a difference.  Here’s my check to help.
$1,000___    750___    500___    250___    100___    50___    25___   Other___
Please make your check to NFP International.
Send to NFPI, Box 861, Steubenville, OH 43952
NFP International is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization.
Visit us at where you can also donate and contact us.

Sheila Kippley