Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding Amenorrhea’ Category

Natural Family Planning: A Scientist’s Work on Breastfeeding

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

H.William Taylor, PhD, was a regional field director in the West for our NFP organization in the 1970s.  Later he published several research papers concerning breastfeeding patterns and amenorrhea.  His wife Donna was also involved in the research.

His dissertation in 1989 was titled Effect of Nursing Pattern on Postpartum Anovulatory Interval. (University of California, Davis)  He concluded that supplementation, scheduling the breastfeeding and episodes of mother-baby separation all “increase the mother’s chance of ovulating after childbirth.”  “These mothering practices limit the amount of physical contact at the breast, thereby allowing the mother’s reproductive system to escape from the normal inhibitory effect of natural, unsupplemented breastfeeding” (p.126).

Following are some of Dr. Taylor’s other statements about breastfeeding and its effect upon the reproductive system.

“Nighttime nursing may prove to be more critical than daytime nursing for the maintenance of the postpartum anovulatory state” (p. 130).     Mothers who get up at night to nurse and then put the baby in a crib “may be behaving so as to hasten the return of her ovulatory cycles” (p.7).

The frequency of nursing is important for natural amenorrhea.  “When matched for daily nursing duration, mothers with an intermittent (short, frequent bouts) nursing pattern were found to experience an anovulatory interval more extended than that experienced by mothers with a more dosed (lengthy, infrequent bouts) nursing pattern.” (p. 120).

Dr. Taylor published his research on the breastfeeding and amenorrhea several times.  About one study he wrote me saying,  “When we eliminated [from our statistics] mothers who returned to work outside the home, did not let their baby sleep with them at night, introduced solids before six months and nursed less than a median of 9 times a day in the first three months, we ended up with a group that might be said to follow the natural mothering norm.  For these 55 mothers the median wait to their first menses was 15.9 months” (personal letter, 1998).

Mothers in this study found that when they breastfed for the baby they gained “the side benefit of freedom from menstruation” (p.47).

Dr. Taylor emphasizes that “the fertility-suppression of lactation may be explained by the pattern of nursing when considered within the context of a complex of mothering behaviors” (p. 95).

Those mothering behaviors are also part of the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  Each Standard is associated with a maternal behavior that keeps the baby close to the mother and thus facilitates frequent baby-initiated suckling.  Therefore, these Standards are associated with natural infertility after childbirth.  The Standards also provide optimal health benefits to both mother and baby.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding (What every woman needs to know about breastfeeding and spacing babies.)

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

From a French mother:  I will always present your book [The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding] as a document that promotes breastfeeding as a wonderful way of mothering. It’s also a way for spacing babies, but this is a “collateral advantage!”  Here’s my own experience as a breastfeeding mother.  I followed the 7 standards (without knowing your book) not in order to space the birth of my babies (especially because I had my first daughter at 28 years old; thus quite late) but in order to succeed with my breastfeeding.  It has worked so well that my daughter, who is almost 4 years old, still suckles but only in the morning. I went 38 and a half months without menstruation!  My future  newborn is for February.  Our two children will be spaced 4 years apart. I know I gave my best for my first child.

An Italian mother sent me three breastfeeding surveys; her babies were born when she was ages 27, 30,and 33.  She did not follow the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding with her first baby and was working 30 hours a week.

With her second baby she cut back on her job (2 days a week; 5 hours each day).  She exclusively breastfed for 7 months and took a daily nap for 14 months.  The baby slept in a cot near her bed, then the baby was moved into the children’s room when a year old.  However the baby often ended up in the parents’ bed until age 30 months.  First menstruation occurred at 29 months+2 weeks followed by a pregnancy.

With baby #3, she practiced ecological breastfeeding.  A daily nap was still ongoing during this survey.  Baby slept in parents’ bed at night for 32 months.  Exclusive breastfeeding occurred for 6 months+2 weeks.  No bottles, no pacifiers, and no job.  The baby was left in the care of another person once a month at age 2.5 years when the mother had a dinner date with her husband.  First menstruation occurred at 37 months+4 days postpartum.  In her experiences she relied exclusively on breastfeeding amenorrhea; a child was always welcome.

Discussion:  Our society is unfamiliar with the natural spacing of babies via breastfeeding.  If you take nature or God’s natural plan as the norm, for a breastfeeding mother to go 1, 2 or 3 years without menstruation is perfectly normal.  Some mothers’ bodies are more influenced by the breastfeeding, and some are less influenced.  Whether a breastfeeding mother experiences one year postpartum without any menstruation or 3 years without menstruation….all these experiences are normal.

Because our society including many of our churches support mothers who work outside the home, the message of breastfeeding and natural spacing is often ignored even if systematic NFP is taught.  I remember one Protestant mother fighting her church to not provide daycare because it sends the wrong message.

For interested parents, articles at the NFPI website teach the importance of the mother during the early years of life.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

Ecological Breastfeeding does make a difference.  

A French mother analyzed how she cared for her four babies.  Following is her own analysis after she completed the NFPI breastfeeding survey for each baby.

Baby 1
Breastfed for 6 months
Exclusive breastfeeding for 2 months
Cultural breastfeeding for 4 months
Amenorrhea duration: 6 months

Baby 2
Breastfed for 12 months
Exclusive breastfeeding for 3.5 months
Then culturally breastfed for 8.5 months
Amenorrhea duration: 9.5 months

Baby 3
Breastfed for 16 months
Ecologically breastfed for 15 months
Then weaned during 1 month
Amenorrhea duration: 15.5 months

Baby 4
Ecologically breastfed for 17.5 months
Amenorrhea duration: 17.5 months

The Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding describes the maternal behaviors associated with extended natural infertility.  The main benefit is that this type of natural mothering keeps the mother with her baby.  In our society where the emphasis is often on pumping or the breast milk, one must remember how important the mother is to her baby.  In God’s plan the nurturing and nourishment provided by the mother on a continual basis keeps the mother near her baby.  As we can see, God’s plan is good.
Ecological Breastfeeding:  For those interested in spacing births via ecological breastfeeding, I encourage you to read The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor. It is the latest, up-to-date version on this topic.

Breastfeeding Survey:  Any mother who has done ecological breastfeeding and has had a return of menstruation is invited to complete the NFPI breastfeeding survey.  If a mother believes the Seven Standards did not give her an extended period of breastfeeding infertility, we would like to hear from her also.

Sheila Kippley