Natural Family Planning: Breastfeeding Spaces Babies

Mother-baby togetherness is important for natural child spacing.  In a Rwanda study, breastfeeding mothers had different conception rates depending on their lifestyles, but the bottle-feeding mothers’ conception rates were the same, whether the mothers lived in the city or in the country.  Why the difference in conception rates among the breastfeeding mothers?  Seventy-five percent (75%) of the city breastfeeding mothers conceived between 6 and 15 months after childbirth, while 75% of the rural breastfeeding mothers conceived between 24 and 29 months after childbirth.  According to the researchers, the reason the country mothers conceived much later was due to the amount of physical contact these mothers had with their babies.  The country mothers remained with their babies while the city mothers were leaving their babies with others. (Bonte, et al., International Journal of Fertility, 1974)

The frequency of breastfeeding, short intervals between feedings, and night feedings— all these factors have been proven to be extremely important for natural child spacing. [ample footnotes for these factors in NFP manual mentioned below.]

Because the research is so substantial, we believe that those involved with natural family planning, the family, the health of our nation, and the Church should teach the important health and baby-spacing benefits of ecological breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for all these reasons should especially be promoted among the poor. As Dr. Ruth Lawrence says:

Breastfeeding is the most precious gift a mother can give her infant.
If there is illness or infection, it may be a life-saving gift.
If there is poverty, it may be the only gift. (Breastfeeding Medicine, October 23, 2007)

The above is taken from the NFPI users’ manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, page 110.

Tomorrow:  Witnesses
Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

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