Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Survey for Past and Present Nursing Mothers by NFP International

Breastfeeding Survey


Email _______________________________

Mother’s age _________  

This survey covers baby # ______

How many months did you exclusively breastfeed?  (This means no water, liquids or solids; only mother’s milk)   _____  months

How many months did you nurse your baby?  _____ months

Did your baby use a pacifier? _____  If so, when? _____________________________________

Did your baby use a bottle? _______ If so, when? _____________________________________

Did you co-sleep with your nursing baby during the night? _______ If so, for how long? ______

Did you nurse lying down for your daily nap? _______

Did you nurse lying down during the night? ________

When did you finally leave your baby home with others?  ______________________________

Did you stay close to your baby in the home? ________________________________________

Did you nurse your baby frequently? ___________

Did your baby like to be nursed to sleep? ______  

Were there other times when the baby liked to be pacified at the breast? ____________________

Did you feed your baby by a schedule? ______

How old was your baby when he or she began to take solid food? ______

How old was your baby when he or she began to take liquids? _______

How many months did you rely on ecological breastfeeding for postpartum infertility? ________

Did you rely only on breastfeeding amenorrhea before your periods returned? _______________

If you relied on breastfeeding for birth spacing, when did you conceive again or have you? ____

Did you encourage or hasten weaning? _____

Did you let the baby wean on its own? _________

How old was your baby when your first postpartum period returned? ______________________

Explain if possible the return of your periods (e.g. weaning, sickness, etc.) 

Was there any other possible reason for decreased nursings 2-4 weeks before the return of your periods? __________

Comments are welcome.

Please send this to or to NFPI, P. O. Box 861, Steubenville OH 43952.

If you prefer an online submission form, go to:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dear Mom of a New Baby

Happy Belated Mother's Day!  How exciting that you are embarking on a new adventure - the journey of motherhood!

How are you feeling?  Excited?  Tired? Worried?  Just remember that you are among friends.  There is support for all those middle of the night quandaries here at the Catholic Nursing Mothers League.

First make sure someone is helping care of YOU so you can nurse your little bundle of joy.  Your church may have an Elizabeth Ministry chapter that arranges meals for new moms.  Check your local bulletin or the Elizabeth Ministry website.

Next, sit down on the couch, put your feet up, and ask your husband or mother or older children to get you a tall glass of water and a nutritious snack.  One of my favorite self care/nutrition books for breastfeeding moms is Eat Well Lose Weight While Breastfeeding.  Don't let the title intimidate you; it has great info about self care for those who are not wven thinking about weight loss yet.

While you nurse your sweet baby, peruse the Catholic Nursing Mothers League website and Facebook group.  Post a question or even just say "hello" and share a pic of your new baby.  We also have a few podcasts if you would like something to listen to.  A new mom doesn't have time for a 5 decade rosary, but maybe your heart would like to pray for a few minutes?  Ask us for a one decade rosary nursing mother's gift bag and we will get one mailed to you soon.  Or if you would like to read more about ecological breastfeeding, email us and we can send one of several books on the topic.  CNML also has several copies of Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood to offer, too.  This book will remind you of the beauty and importance of Motherhood and breastfeeding.  Are you new to breastfeeding or a seasoned mom having some breastfeeding difficulties?  If so, ask us for the book, Getting Started with Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers.  It contains info about different breastfeeding concerns you may encounter and also lots of inspiration from a Catholic perspective.  Also, there are several in person CNML groups around the country who would love to encourage you.

Keep your baby close to you night and day - that is exactly where he desires to be!  Watch for early hunger cues and nurse your baby sooner rather than later.  If baby is already crying, it can be a little more challenging to get him to latch well and to nurse.  Here is a FAQ that might help:

Early Hunger Cues

Also, nursing on demand and letting baby lead is best for your milk supply and for baby's contentment and growth.  I know it can feel overwhelming nursing so much during those early weeks, but it will get easier!  Also, as time goes on, babies often become more efficient nursers so they do not need to spend quite so long at the breast for a nursing session.

Frequent nursing

When your baby exhibits hunger cues, bring your baby close and latch him on.  You will want your baby to be tummy to tummy with you and in a comfortable position so that he does not need to turn his head.  There are a variety of nursing positions you can try out.  See what is most comfortable for you and baby.  Wait until your baby opens his mouth wide and then latch baby on.  If the latch feels painful and not quite right, you can gently break the suction and try again until it the latch is correct.

Latching and Positioning Resources

Are our breasts engorged and your baby is having a tough time latching, you check out this webpage :


Another common issue is baby being sleepy and not waking often enough to nurse.

Techniques on waking a sleeping baby

Breast Compressions

Are you wondering how you will know if your baby is nursing often enough and growing well?  Take a look at this webpage for lots of good info:

Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

Now it is getting close to bedtime.  Where should baby sleep?

Cosleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?

Safe Cosleeping Guidelines

I hope we were able to get you started nursing with confidence!  If you have any breastfeeding questions or you just need a little bit of support or encouragement, you are more than welcome to email CNML (catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com) or to ask fellow moms on the CNML Facebook group for their thoughts.  If you are experiencing more complex breastfeeding issues or your baby is losing weight, having atypical symptoms or doesn't seem to be thriving, please call your health care provider and also your local lactation consultant for help.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review of "The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding"

Book Review of The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding

I represented CNML as an exhibitor at the 2018 New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce Conference last month.  The keynote speaker at this year's conference was Kimberly Seals Allers, author of The Big Letdown; How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding. Although I didn't hear her speak, I decided to buy her book, because it looked promising.

In the book, she discusses the sometimes shady history of the formula industry.  Yes, I'm sure there was a humanitarian part to the creation of formula - helping those who could not breastfeed.  However, the formula companies saw a huge potential financial profit to be had by convincing nervous moms that formula is necessary.  One example in the book from as early as the 1940s is this little jingle: 

"The child is going to die.  Because the mother's breast has given out.  Mama o Mama the child cries.  If you want your child to get well, give it KLIM milk."  

One public comment from the CEO of Mead Johnson Nutrition in 2015 really stuck with me and convinced me that the formula companies really are hoping more women will not breastfeed:

"...We continue to see breastfeeding rates in the U.S. climb through 2014.  Now we'll be watching very closely as we go through 2015 to see whether the improvement in unemployment trends will cause this trend to abate somewhat.  IT'S OUR HOPE AND EXPECTATION THAT THAT WILL BE THE CASE." (emphasis added)

It is crystal clear that this formula company and most likely others are not really the friends of breastfeeding.

It is not exclusive to formula companies.  Many doctors have bought into the lie that formula is just as good as breastfeeding.  There are many, many breastfeeding friendly doctors (Dr. Miriam Labbok R.I.P. and Dr. Sears come to mind) but many doctors are unfortunately swayed by the freebies the formula companies provide.

This book also discusses the unsupportive nature of the workplace for breastfeeding moms.  The U.S. is fairly low on the list of quality maternity leave and its laws protecting pumping the the workplace are not as commonplace as they should be and are often not enforced.  CNML believes women should ideally strive to be home with their nurslings and small children if at all possible.  However improved maternity leave and enforced pumping laws will at least allow more working women to stay home longer with their babies and continue to breastfeed after returning to work.

The author discusses the role of feminism in downplaying the importance of breastfeeding and motherhood.  I was pleasantly surprised to read her perspective on this issue.  Although I had the impression that the author is pro-choice (although I am not 100% sure), except for a few brief mentions of how women do now gladly have the right to reproductive choice, I would say I agree with almost the entire rest of the book.  She is very pro-motherhood and, of course, breastfeeding.  

A good read!  Highly recommended!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Motherhood: Nothing Else Compares

Today my family and I visited the Sanctuario de Chimayo.  It is a Catholic pilgrimage site, and many healings occurred over the years as the result of prayers and visits to there.  By going back to the shrine again, I hoped to grow closer to Jesus.

Sanctuario de Chimayo is one of the few places with a chapel dedicated exclusively to children. They actually have two.  As we walked into the first one, I immediately had a thought, "focus more on motherhood."  Tears welled up in my eyes.

Right now I have a few out of the home activities going on, but I do feel fairly well balanced between my family and everything else. However, I often catch myself dreaming mostly about things other than motherhood.  My oldest is in college and my next two boys are teens.  Yet I also have two younger ones ages 6 and 9, so the day when all my kids are grown is 12 years away.  Yet having a college aged son (gasp!) makes me feel like I am moving onto the next phase of my life so I need to remember I still have little ones at home.  My out of the home activities appear more exciting than doing laundry or playing another round of Candyland with my daughter.  I am sure I felt the same while nursing my children for almost 16 years, too.  Guess what?  I miss those days! When I refocus on all the wonder and innocence of ages 6 and 9, I really enjoy it!  I love seeing a picture of Clifford the Big Red Dog at the library or watching a silly movie with my kids about cats kidnapping a dog!  I also like the fact that I get to help my almost 16 year old son with his Geometry and have a more adult conversation with him.

Being a mom is tough, and many moms need downtime for music, art, reading, social groups, or any of the myriad of possibilities.  I know I do.  However, I realized today that I, personally, need to keep in the forefront of my mind how sacred and important motherhood is.  The other activities I do are important, of course, but motherhood is in its own special category.  Really, nothing else compares.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Thank you and a Recap of 2017

Thank you to all those who support the Catholic Nursing Mothers League (CNML) through prayer, volunteering and financially!  If you donated to us, your donation is tax deductible, because we are a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Only $10 a year goes towards the NM charity paperwork fee.  All other donations go comp!etely to minister to nursing moms!

We are a small ministry but I believe that even by helping just one nursing mom, we are making a difference. Saint Mother Teresa once said, "Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."

Last year, CNML encouraged and supported many nursing moms.  Here is a little recap:

We are up to more than 1000 members on the our facebook group.

We still have a yahoo group.  It tends to be on the quiet side, but there is discussion on it occasionally.

We have 14 in person groups around the country in the states of New Mexico, Michigan, Florida, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

We have a fairly active blog  with links to breastfeeding information and also spiritual resources.

We gave out 18 nursing mother gift bags, 10 breastfeeding books, 9 infinity scarf nursing covers, 2 prayer shawls, and 125 Pope Francis cards, and quite a few one decade rosaries and Our Lady of La Leche cards and medals at the annual NM breastfeeding conference.

Here is a sample of some of the responses we have received from nursing moms after they received our care packages:

A nursing mom in TX, sent us this response after receiving her package:
"I received the box of goodies and your sweet card!  I just wanted to say thank you very much.  The shawl  is beautiful and the detail of the scalloped edges and the purple color are just perfection.  Thank you for the card as well.  Your prayers have been heard as my little one is an excellent nurser.  Thank you, Our Lady of La Leche! I love the book and scarf as well."

A new nursing mom in PA wrote this to CNML:
"Thanks so much for the prayer cards, medallion and rosary!"

A nursing mom in KS wrote the following:
"Thank you SO MUCH for the book for my friend!"

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ideas for Living on One Income by Andrea Nease and Gina Peterson

1. Affordable housing.

The most important decision my husband and I ever made to ensure one incoming living possible was purposefully buying a home that we could afford with one income. When we purchased our home we were both working full time. There was a huge discrepancy between what we qualified for and what would be realistic in the future if I were to stay home. We picked a house that was nearly half the price of what we qualified for with the bank. We had to look in a more rural area in a small town and make some compromises on our wish list.

When my husband and I first married, we were both college students.  When we started our family, we both felt it was important for me to be home with our children.  When looking for housing, we kept that in mind and chose accordingly.  For two years of our marriage we even lived in a one bedroom apartment (650 sq ft in size) with two kids.  At that time, we lived in CA and could not afford anything bigger.  We knew it wasn't permanent and just tried to make due.

2. Tithing
We have found over the years that if we aren’t tithing it works against us. Even when we thought tithing would take food off the table, if we tithed faithfully off the top, God always provided. Money would pop up, sometimes down to the penny that we needed. If we stopped or squandered our money on frivolous things, it was somehow worse than it should have been. We also have tithed backwards- meaning if we knew we needed more money (for legitimate things) we tithed what we would have if we had already been making that much. It was an act of faith that God would provide. Prayers to St. Matthew have also been very helpful.

I think tithing is important, too.  I try to write out my checks at the very beginning of the month before I start receiving bills, so I am not tempted to use the money to pay something else.  Although one of the precepts of the Catholic Church requires us to provide for the needs of the Church in some way, no particulars are stated.  I think starting where you are and possibly increasing the amount you tithe as time goes on is one good option.  It doesn't have to be 10% or nothing.  Also, both spouses need to agree on the amount you tithe.

3. Cloth Diapering and Elimination Communication

When my oldest was born we used disposable diapers for a time. I spent well over a hundred dollars a month for about the first year of his life. At that point we switched to cloth diapers and also used elimination communication (at least part time) with our subsequent children. I ended up spending about $500 over the years on quality cloth diapers that I used on three kids until they were completely potty trained. Using EC helped my cloth diapers last longer and also saved me on wipes. For example, when a child has a bowel movement in a diaper it smears all over and  you must use several wipes to clean the child. With EC, I caught most of them in the toilet and generally only needed one wipe for clean up. I also had less blow outs with cloth and EC, saving some clothes that may have been ruined. EC and cloth can lead to quicker potty training mastery, saving even more in the long run over disposables. From talking with many families who use disposables and stretch out changes to save diapers and money, I know it is common for families to still have four and five year olds still in diapers or pull ups. All my kids were completely done with diapers around two and a half years old.

I found cloth diapers to be a very economical option.  As we had more babies, I did use generic disposables for bedtime, going out and sometimes switched completely once my toddlers were 18 months or 2 years old.  However, my cloth diaper stash lasted many years and through many babies and saved us a lot of money.

4. Ecological breastfeeding 

Ecological breastfeeding has saved me a lot. No bottles. No pumps. No formula. No pacifiers. The only expense has been a little more food for mom and nursing tank tops. The ecological breastfeeding lifestyle also has saved me a ton on baby “stuff”. I do need a baby sling, but keeping baby close to me or on my person saves me from needing equipment like baby seats, high chairs, baby bath tubs, swings, play mats, walkers, etc. Cosleeping saves on cribs and bedding. Baby led weaning, which pairs very well with ecological breastfeeding, saves on baby food and toddler snacks.

Ecological breastfeeding also saved me money.  I also didn't buy bottles, formula and pacifiers.  I did use a stroller and baby carrier but we did not buy a crib, swing, play pen, etc.  Having a king size bed definitely makes bed sharing easier, but we also bed shared in a queen size bed for many years.  I used a bassinet with a few of my very young babies - mainly for naps during the day so I could keep baby close to me.

5. One Vehicle

Technically we have two vehicles, but one is owned by our business and solely used by my husband. We only have one family vehicle, and if my husband didn’t have a work vehicle we would either have home take it to work or I would pick him up and drop him off if I needed he vehicle. We also negotiated an extremely good deal on our last vehicle. Proverbs praises a woman who is able to get a good deal.

When we first got married and had our first two children, we did have only one vehicle.  For a few of the years, we were in college and lived close to campus. Then when we lived in CA for two years, I walked everywhere with the kids.  I even used our double stroller as a shopping cart, so I could grocery shop during the day when my husband was at work!

6. Minimalism

A friend introduced me to minimalism. It really helps me evaluate what we really need and what I should say no to. I limit possessions, toys, and clothing. It has helped me be more conscience about not living beyond my God given means.

I am also interested in minimalism.  When you have a large family, you need to limit what comes into the house and also declutter and donate things regularly or all the "stuff" will take over your house!  Minimalism is different for everyone.  You don't need to get rid of everything but your bed and two outfits to be minimalist!

Another area that can be minimalized is furniture.  A friend and mentor of CNML reminded me of that.  Such items such as a headboard or a footboard are not necessary for a bed.  When my husband and I were college students, we always had a couch, kitchen table and chairs and bookcases but for a time didn't even have a dresser!  We were poor college students after all!  The world did not end because we were missing a few items of furniture!  When we moved from CA (with two kids) to Los Alamos where we still reside, the movers packed up the truck in one hour and said 1/5 of our possessions were books!  Also, now with good laptop computers available, we don't even have an office desk or office in our house.  We need as much space as possible for family areas and kids' bedrooms.

7. A Loving Husband

We have had some rough times and thankfully my husband always took his role as provider seriously. There was a brief time he worked two jobs and considered a third to make ends meet. This time helped us develop our trust in God and humility in how reliant we are.

I agree that a solid marriage is important.  I try to treat my husband with love and respect and as well as or better than as I would treat a stranger.  The reason I mention that is because sometimes family members treat each other much worse than people they meet in town or at a store.   Isn't it easier sometimes to love someone in another country than someone in your own family? 

8. Hand me downs

With my boys, I had multiple generous family members who continuously gave us hand me downs yearly for several years. This saved us a ton of money and I made sure to pass on what I could to someone else. Other than socks, underwear, and shoes we rarely had to buy any clothing for them for them. I know some families who are able to trade clothes if they match up with the right family who has kids younger and older than their own.

Gina: Even though I try to keep the clutter under control and aspire to the minimalist lifestyle, I also have kept all my kids clothes and toys over the years until just recently.  I have four sons who were all born in the summer (and one daughter born in the winter) so most of the clothes worked well with each child.  It is fun to look at old pictures and try to figure out which one of my four sons is wearing a particular outfit that they all wore.

9. Meal planning

Meal planning, when I do it, really helps. First, I eliminate waste by using up left overs and not moving on to the next big meal until the last one is gone. Second, it saves on random unplanned trips to the store that add up and leave me over budget. It also helps eliminate wasting money eating out because there was no plan.

I plan the week's meals ahead of time, and I try to do all of my shopping in one big trip.  However, I do sometimes forget a few things and need to go back to the store.  I also use coupons and generics as much as possible.  Even if you are a label reader like me, you can often find acceptable generics to fit your needs.

10. Do It Yourself, Bartering

My husband has saved us thousands of dollars over the years by figuring things out himself. From working on vehicles, repairing plumbing, installing windows, building cabinets, installing flooring, sanding and refinishing hardwood floors, to repainting our house. I can think of one time in the last decade we had to pay a contractor to do something on our home. We have also bartered for items such as furniture and even with midwives for home birth. We have a working relationship with trusted friends and neighbors for borrowing and lending tools so we don’t always have to shell out money for a tool we would need once or twice.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Please donate to CNML

The Catholic Nursing Mothers League (CNML)  is a ministry and 501(c)3 non-profit organization that encourages and supports nursing mothers emotionally and spiritually and provides breastfeeding info and resources.  Besides ministering to nursing mothers, we are also one of only two organizations that teach and promote ecological breastfeeding.  All those who help with CNML are volunteers, and our administrative costs are very, very low. CNML is funded solely by donations.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation today!  You can donate through PayPal or you can mail a check to: CNML, 1915 Camino Redondo, Los Alamos, NM 87544.  Thank you!