Ecological Breastfeeding and Exclusive Breastfeeding

Ecological Breastfeeding and Exclusive Breastfeeding:  These two types of breastfeeding are often confused with each other, but they are completely different when discussing natural child spacing. Website discussions about pregnancy rates during breastfeeding often confuse these two terms.  Even NFP teachers and doctors have shown confusion regarding these terms.  Let’s get them right.

Exclusive breastfeeding means the mother is giving her baby only her breast milk directly from her breast.  The baby is receiving nothing else for his nourishment.  The exclusive breastfeeding rule (also called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM) for natural infertility requires 3 conditions:
1) The baby is not yet 6 months old.
2) The mother is exclusively breastfeeding.
3) The mother has not experienced menstruation after the 56th day postpartum.
The pregnancy rate of LAM is 1% to 2% prior to the return of menstruation.

Ecological breastfeeding is described by the Seven Standards:
1. Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life; don’t use other liquids and solids, not even water.
2. Pacify or comfort your baby at your breasts.
3. Don’t use bottles and don’t use 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, and avoid schedules.
7. Avoid any practice that restricts nursing or separates you from
your baby.

The pregnancy rate for eco-breastfeeding is almost nil during the first 3 months if the mother is doing the Seven Standards and has had no menstrual bleeding after the 56th day postpartum.  With eco-breastfeeding, the second 3 months have a pregnancy rate of about 1% if the mother remains in amenorrhea.  After 6 months, the pregnancy rate is 6% for a mother who does not abstain or continues to rely on breastfeeding.  If the mother needs to postpone a pregnancy, she can switch into charting and use her fertility signs and systematic natural family planning.

For those interested in more information on these two types of breastfeeding, read Chapter 6 in Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  For those interested in natural birth spacing, read The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency FactorToday and tomorrow are the last 2 days of the 40% sale at

The Seven Standards book sells for $11.99 but the price is now $7.19.  The ebook is only priced at $5.99 but the sale price is $3.59.  Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing sells for $14.95 but the sale price is $8.95.  This ebook is also priced at $5.99 with the sale price at $3.59.  Both books compliment each other and make an excellent gift for a new mother.  The Seven Standards is quite cheap and can be bought in bulk to hand out among friends, relatives, or church members. The NFP manual and Battle-Scarred continue to be on sale also.

Again we encourage mothers who have eco-breastfed to complete the NFPI breastfeeding survey.

Sheila Kippley

Comments are closed.