Archive for the ‘WBW 2019’ Category

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Spaces Babies

Sunday, August 4th, 2019

Most of the breastfeeding research before the 1970s dealt with exclusive or mixed breastfeeding.  Several researchers noted that breastfeeding amenorrhea means ovulation is suppressed.  The research done by Dr. Leonard Remfry and Dr. Konald Prem showed that the breastfeeding mother has only a 5-6% chance of pregnancy during breastfeeding amenorrhea.  In such cases, ovulation occurred before a first menstruation. Their research papers are at the NFP International website.

In the early Sixties, La Leche League International taught that mothers who exclusively breastfed had a 1% chance of pregnancy before their first period occurred during those first 6 months. Rose Gioiosa also taught through La Leche League, her research, and her Boston ministry that couples could space their babies by offering only breast milk via direct breastfeeding for the first 9 months of life and only start to offer solids when the baby was 6 months old.  Currently the Lactational Amenorrhea Method is taught and has been researched in many sites throughout the world.  It claims at least a 98% effectiveness when mothers exclusively breastfeed, remain in amenorrhea, and the baby has not yet reached 6 months of age.  This method is similar to what La Leche League taught in the Sixties.

What is often missing in the research are behaviors that the mothers can do to space their babies naturally.  That is the purpose of teaching the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding.  These standards involve behaviors that encourage frequent and unrestricted nursing.  Research shows that American mothers who ecologically breastfeed their babies will experience, on average, 14 to 15 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea.  The Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding are the following:

  1. Exclusively Breastfeed for the First Six Months
  2. Pacify Your Baby at Your Breasts
  3. Don’t Use Bottles or Pacifiers
  4. Sleep with Your Baby for Night Feedings
  5. Sleep with Your Baby for a Daily-Nap Feeding
  6. Nurse Frequently Day and Night
  7. Avoid Any Practice That Restricts Nursing or Separates You from Your Baby

My book, The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor, has a chapter on each Standard.  These chapters explain why each Standard is important.  Probably the most controversial is the Fourth Standard dealing with night feedings.  That chapter has the research showing the importance of night feedings AND the safe-sleeping rules. In addition, that chapter lists at least 20 benefits for the mother and baby co-sharing sleep.

Tomorrow:  Research on mother and baby co-sharing sleep.
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding


Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Spaces Babies

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

 No to early solids and liquids
Does breastfeeding space babies?  The answer is “It depends.”  Cultural breastfeeding?  Not really.  Ecological Breastfeeding?   Yes. For mothers who would like the natural spacing of Ecological Breastfeeding, the first step is exclusive breastfeeding.  When a mother provides all of her baby’s nourishment at her breasts and the greater part of her baby’s other sucking needs at her breasts, she will almost invariably experience the side effect of natural infertility. .  That means that if mothers are interested in natural birth spacing, they need to be taught to nurse frequently, nursing during the night and during a short nap, and avoid bottles and pacifiers and mother-baby separation.

Research has shown repeatedly that introduction of early solids and liquids during the early months are associated with an early return of fertility.  This was seen in the previous two blogs.

Witness: “This was the first baby exclusively breastfed for six months and also a baby-led weaning.  The baby nursed very infrequently, but gained three pounds every month for the first six months except one month he gained four pounds.  I am currently nursing our 17 month old without a return of my periods.”

No to pacifiers
Pacifiers are associated with an earlier return of menstruation. (European Journal o9f Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, June 2004).  There are benefits to not using a pacifier: likely avoidance of thumb or finger sucking; better and earlier speech, better dental and facial development, emotional satisfaction from increased contact with the mother, more frequent nursing during the day and night, and longer duration of breastfeeding.

Witness: “My third child had always been a difficult nurser. I nursed him anytime he wanted.  At 16 months we rid him of his pacifier, and nursing became a joy.  From personal experience of nursing both culturally and ecologically, the difference is night and day for both baby and me.  Ecological breastfeeding definitely made me feel closer to my baby.”

No to bottles
It is common today to hear of breastmilk-feeding mothers who only offer breast milk to their baby via pumping and using bottles.  That is, the baby does not receive breast milk directly from the breast.  Interestingly, there is new research which shows that direct breastfeeding is healthier than pumped breast milk given to the baby.  “Indirect breastfeeding was associated with lower overall milk microbiota richness and diversity when compared with direct breastfeeding.” This research group also “found that modes of infant feeding other than direct breastfeeding—including breastfeeding with some pumped breastmilk—were less beneficial than direct breastfeeding in terms of the increased risk of asthma at 3 years of age.” (Cell Host & Microbe, February 13, 2019)  The effects of pumping and suckling are not all the same. Bottles as well as pacifiers interfere with natural infertility.

Tomorrow:  various breastfeeding recommendations for breastfeeding infertility
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Spaces Babies

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

In the November/December 1971 issue of Nutrition Today, Dr. Otto Schaefer stated that the Eskimos prolonged lactation provided a natural spacing of three years and kept the Eskimo family small (“When the Eskimo Comes to Town”).  “It is this prolonged lactation period more than high infant mortality that kept the traditional Eskimos family small.”  The traditional Eskimo family size averaged 3 to 4 children.   This natural spacing was lost once the Eskimos were exposed to urbanization and the trading posts.  The closer they lived to the trading posts, the closer they had their babies.  As a result there was a “50 percent jump in the Eskimo birthrate in the Northwest Territories alone, and the increase from less than 40 births per 1000 in the mid-1950s to 64 per 1000 ten years later.”  This increase birth rate was due to the increased use of the bottle and shortened lactation.

In a paper presented at the Circumpolar Health Symposium in Oulu, Finland in June 1971, Dr. Schaefer spoke of the traditional lactation effect on postpartum infertility.  The women aged 30-50 years who had reared children in camp life with prolonged lactation conceived 20-30 months postpartum.  The younger women aged 17-29 who were urbanized and used bottles for their babies conceived “2 to 4 months after the birth of the previous child.”  What a difference! 

The story of Dr. Schaefer’s life was written by Dr. Gerald W. Hankins and was titled Sunrise Over Pangnirtung.  Dr. Hankins mentioned in that book that Dr. Schaefer believed that “breast feeding had a greater influence on the life and health of infants than any other single factor.”  Schaefer also wanted women to give up bottle feeding so they would receive a desirable spacing of children with breastfeeding. 

One interesting note was that Dr. Schaefer did not hear of any complaints from mothers who nursed traditionally.  Not as with the bottlefeeders.  However, when he attended the women’s conference in Pangnirtung in 1981, Dr. Schaefer observed according to Dr. Hawkins that:  “Many complained about having ‘too many kids around,’ one of the consequences of giving up breast feeding.  Others found that they had little to keep them busy and that their children weren’t respectful or obedient any more.”

Dr. Schaefer spent 32 years of his medical career in the barren lands of northern Canada, and his research was written up in over 100 papers and publications. He constantly took notes when providing medical care. I was pleased to meet his daughter at a breastfeeding conference in California.  (She was nursing a three-year old.)

Tomorrow:  early solids, bottles and pacifiers
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding