Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

First Standard of Ecological Breastfeeding by Judith

Last time I talked about ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding and the distinction between it and other modes of breastfeeding.  The Seven Standards are maternal behaviours associated with breastfeeding infertility.  As defined in Sheila Kippley's book The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor  ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding  is  "a form of nursing in which the mother fulfils her baby's needs for frequent suckling and her full-time presence and in which the child's frequent suckling postpones the return of the mother's fertility."

There are seven standards to follow and the first is to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. Exclusive breastfeeding is when you give only your milk to your baby directly from your breast for the first six months. Most babies need frequent suckling day and night. A mother who breastfeeds only for nutrition may not be satisfying her baby's emotional needs.

Exclusive breastfeeding is 98-99% effective in postponing pregnancy when three conditions are met.

The baby has not reached 6 months of age.

Mother has had no menstrual bleeding after the 56th day postpartum.

The breastfeeding needs to be truly "exclusive" breastfeeding.

If your baby turns 6 months, or you have menstrual bleeding after 8 weeks postpartum, or you are no longer giving your baby anything but your milk, the effectiveness of the exclusive breastfeeding rule no longer applies. This rule is known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM); it has been heavily researched and La Leche League has taught it since the Sixties. Also according to research which can be found in The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding, you can ignore any vaginal bleeding in the first 8 weeks, if you are truly "exclusively" breastfeeding .

However exclusive breastfeeding is only one part of the seven standard equation in ECOLOGICAL BREASTFEEDING used to postpone the mother's fertility and which simultaneously also meets the baby's emotional and nutritional needs at the breast.

From personal experience it is so worth the effort to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. For me personally I had difficulties for the first month or two in learning to breastfeed comfortably, but once I got into a rhythm it was wonderful. We had no bottles of milk to heat and could travel easily anywhere...even on a plane to London where my daughter could suckle as the plane took off and so alleviate her ears from popping!

If you would like to learn more about this first standard of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, or you would like to look up the scientific research behind it, please  go to Kippley's website  and search "breastfeeding infertility research."  You can also look up where you can join the Catholic Nursing Mothers League for online support.

Next time we will look at the second standard of ecological breastfeeding so until then slan go foill!


Disclaimer: I am a breastfeeding mother who has used the Seven Standards and experienced 21 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea.  No claim is made that ecological breastfeeding is 100% in avoiding pregnancy.   For health issues, see a competent health professional.

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