4. Ecological Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding are as follows:
1)  Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life. Don’t offer your baby 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 daily-nap feedings.
6)  Nurse frequently day and night and avoid schedules.
7)  Avoid any practice that restricts nursing or separates you from your baby.
The two key factors for natural child spacing are 1) mother-baby togetherness and 2) frequent and unrestricted suckling. If these two key factors are present, it is easy to follow the Seven Standards because the mother remains with her baby. Mother and baby are in essence one biological unit. It is important for everyone present to remember that these specific mothering practices are important in God’s plan for natural baby spacing.

We tried to eliminate one or more of the Standards – one by one – in our research, and we found that each Standard is important. Sometime after six or eight months, the mother will no longer be doing exclusive breastfeeding so the Seven Standards become Six Standards. We found that breastfeeding amenorrhea can continue for a number of months if the Six Standards are still followed, but dropping any one of those Standards invites fertility to return.

Bed-sharing between mother and baby is extremely important for maintaining breastfeeding amenorrhea.  In communities where such bed-sharing between mother and baby is a common practice, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is almost unknown. We encourage couples interested in natural child spacing with ecological breastfeeding to review the safe bed-sharing guidelines at the website of NFP International.

Here we want to emphasize that Nature intends for mother and baby to be one, a biological unit. The World Health Organization described this oneness well: “Mothers and babies form an inseparable biological and social unit; the health and nutrition of one group cannot be divorced from the health and nutrition of the other.”

Some people are quick to say “We know breastfeeding does not work for spacing babies.” This is because parents in many countries adopt cultural practices which interfere with God’s plan for mother and baby. They use early solids or liquids or formula, pacifiers, bottles, strict schedules, babysitters, and other practices that restrict the amount of breastfeeding at the breast. Such practices give breastfeeding and natural child spacing a bad name. We’re here today to tell you that breastfeeding when done right does work as a natural birth spacer.

From July 19th to the evening of August 7th (NFP Awareness Week through World Breastfeeding Week) anyone can purchase the following printed books at a 40% discount at lulu:
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach (coil edition preferred for learners)
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Battle-Scarred: Justice Can Be Elusive
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

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