Natural Family Planning: What Pope, Cardinal and Bishop are saying about Ecological Breastfeeding

St. John Paul II:  “Greater consideration should be given to the social role of mothers, and support should be given to programs which aim at decreasing maternal mortality, providing prenatal and perinatal care, meeting the nutritional needs of pregnant women and nursing mothers, and helping mothers themselves to provide preventive health care for their infants. In this regard attention should be given to the positive benefits of breastfeeding for nourishment and disease prevention in infants as well as for maternal bonding and birth spacing.” [Address to Dr. Nafis Sadik, Secretary General of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, March 18, 1994, n. 8. Emphasis added.]

Alfonso Cardinal López Trujillo, then President of the Pontifical Council for the Family:
“For many years the value of breastfeeding has been recognized especially in terms of the close bond it establishes between a mother and her child and the health benefits of a natural form of nourishing infants. It is therefore heartening to see a revived interest in this natural form of nurturing. However, there is another dimension of breastfeeding that is not as widely known, that is, choosing breastfeeding as a natural means for spacing births.
Used in this way, breastfeeding has been found to be of particular value, not only in various traditional cultures, where such an approach has been known for centuries, but in the wider world. As one of the natural ways for regulating fertility, breastfeeding thus takes its place among various methods that constitute the ‘authentic alternative’ to contraception, and so it remains a subject for research and study.” (Foreword, Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing: The Ecology of Natural Mothering, Classic Edition, 2008. Emphasis added.)

Most Rev. Victor Galeone, former Bishop of St. Augustine, Florida: “You mentioned that Macabbees is the only place in the Bible that mentions the length of three years for breastfeeding in Biblical Times.  Back in the mid 60s when the Pill was being discussed on the news, my mother (an immigrant from Italy who never went beyond the 3rd grade) commented to me: ‘A pity the mothers today don’t know what my mother taught me.  I breastfed all my children for two years.  And that’s why there’s at least three years between each of you.’  To which I replied, ‘Mom , we had teeth already by that time.’  To which she replied, ‘I know, but I could teach each one of you not to bite.’
My five years in the Peruvian Andes taught me basically the same thing.  Their children were spaced by three to four years, and they were ever so well behaved in Church as toddlers.  No crying or screaming.” ( personal correspondence, June 4, 2004, quoted with permission)

More coming on experiences with eco-breastfeeding in the Church.
Sheila Kippley

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