Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus

Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus
Nursing Madonna (wikimedia commons)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sixth Standard of Ecological Breastfeeding

 Last time we looked at the fifth standard of ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding which is to sleep with your baby for a daily-nap feeding.

This time we are discussing the sixth standard of ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding which is to nurse frequently day and night and avoid schedules. This standard put me at ease completely because I hate strict routines! I was self-employed for a long time before I became pregnant and I loved the variety in my schedule.

My baby wanted to nurse often in the beginning,  and it was so much easier for me to let her do so rather than listen to her cry for me just because it wasn't exactly 3 or 4 hours since she previously nursed. Also nursing frequently helped me to establish and maintain a successful breastfeeding relationship. It has also helped me to remain in amenorrhea because frequent suckling is associated with delayed ovulation. Frequent suckling can vary from one mother-baby relationship to another, anywhere from every half hour to every 2 hours. It is unique to each mother-baby relationship and changes over time. There are some fascinating studies in Chapter 6 of The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding by Sheila Kippley that show the relationship between frequent suckling and delayed ovulation.

I will describe one study of New Guinea people who did not practice contraception or abortion. The babies stayed in close proximity to their mothers day and night, and were frequent sucklers -- every half hour to begin with and then the suckling frequency decreased very slowly as solids were introduced. The average weaning age was 3 and the average birth interval was 44 months with an average family size of 4.3 children. To me that makes sense. To me that is an example of how God has designed the mother- baby relationship, whereby mothers are not burnt out by having children in close succession, and also they are not taking any synthetic contraceptives that harm their body.

Lastly there are some women whose babies are just not frequent sucklers. Sometimes a mother can still remain in amenorrhea because their bodies are sensitive to any breastfeeding. Other mothers can learn Systematic Natural Family Planning if their cycles come back and they have serious reasons for avoiding pregnancy.

Next time we will examine the seventh and final standard of ecological breastfeeding. In the meantime you can look up Kippley's website www.nfpandmore.org  and/or www.catholicbreastfeeding.org for more information and support. God bless, Judith!

Disclaimer: I am a breastfeeding mother who has used the Seven Standards and experienced 24.5 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea to date.  No claim is made that ecological breastfeeding is 100% effective in avoiding pregnancy.   For health issues, see a competent health professional.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Judith's Essay on the FIFTH Standard of Ecological Breastfeeding

 Last time I talked about the fourth standard of ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding which is to sleep with your baby for night feedings following all the safety guidelines recommended on the links at www.nfpandmore.org and www.catholicbreastfeeding.org websites.

This week we will talk about the fifth standard of ECOLOGICAL breastfeeding which is to sleep with your baby for a daily-nap feeding.

I have to say I fall short on this one sometimes, partly because I can get away with not sleeping during the day and still remain in amenorrhea. However, I do get LOADS of rest as I go to bed early with my daughter, anytime from 8pm to 10.30pm, depending on both of our moods.

If I know I am going to be up later, for example for a special dinner with my husband or relatives,  I make sure I am well rested by lying down for half an hour with my toddler while she breastfeeds.

I will share an experience I had where I got some "blood" spotting when my baby was 4-5 months of age. I had taken a long walk and had not eaten straight afterwards; in addition more time than normal had passed since I had last nursed my baby. The next morning I spotted some blood and I knew it was a similar experience to what Sheila describes in her book when a mother overdoes it in some way or when a mother feels pre-menstrual.

I did what Sheila suggests in Chapter 5 of her book, The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding  which was to rest more, lying down with my daughter suckling on me and taking a nap. I felt my body going back to that more relaxed breastfeeding state the very next day and I have had no spotting since.    

Some women's bodies are different and they need to do the daily-nap feeding very regularly in order to remain in amenorrhea. If you are one of those women and you want the child spacing effect of ecological breastfeeding, I recommend reading Chapter 5 of Sheila's book above and following that standard. That chapter also gives advice on how to nap if you have more than one child.

Next time we will look at the sixth standard of ecological breastfeeding. As always you can look up Kippley's website www.nfpandmore.org  and/or www.catholicbreastfeeding.org for resources and online support. God bless, Judith!

Disclaimer: I am a breastfeeding mother who has used the Seven Standards and  at the time of writing this column for the Open Door Newsletter at  www.theopendoor.ie,  I had experienced 18 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea. No claim is made that ecological breastfeeding is 100% in avoiding pregnancy.  I have now over 2 years of breastfeeding amenorrhea  and have gently  started to reduce my daily nursings .  For health issues, see a competent health professional.