The Crucial First Three Years for the Child

December 13th, 2020

What is so important about the breastfeeding—especially ecological breastfeeding and prolonged lactation—is that it gives a baby both the nurturing and the best nutrition. Prolonged lactation naturally provides those two realities that make such a positive difference! And, most importantly, prolonged lactation keeps the mother available and hopefully responsive and sensitive to her baby’s needs during those crucial first three years of life.

Following are a few good quotes from the experts on the importance of the mother’s presence during the early years of her child.

One thing we have learned about children in the past few decades is that they do best in early infancy if they are principally cared for by their own mothers. Given a reasonably stable household and a level of economic stability where the children can receive all the emotional and physical benefits offered to the general population, mothers responding to their own children are still best.” Dana Raphael, The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding, p. 168.

“When I review all the information available to us today, then I conclude that the mother is the best caretaker for the child, particularly during its infancy…As I have said, there are cases where surrogate mothers are necessary, but all things being equal, there is no substitute for a child’s own parents, especially his mother.” Bennett Olshaker, M.D., The Child as a Work of Art, p. pp. 39-40.

The child’s social development is always retarded if the child does not have a single main mother figure constantly about him, i.e., a person who has enough time and motherly love for the child. In this sentence, every word is equally important. Single does not mean two, three or four persons. Constant means always the same person. Motherly means a person, who shows all of the behavior toward the child, which we designate as ‘motherly.’ Main mother figure means that secondary mother figures (father, brothers, sisters, grandparents) may support the main mother figure, but not substitute for her. Person means that the respective adult has to support the child with his whole being and has to have time for the child.” Theodore Hellbrügge, Child and Family, 1979.

Mother and child are inseparable… For the mother has to feed her child, and therefore she cannot leave him at home when she goes out. To this need for food is added their mutual fondness and love. In this way, the child’s need for nutrition, and the love that unites these two beings, both combine in solving the problem of the child’s adaptation to the world, and this happens in the most natural way possible. Mother and child are one. Except where civilization has broken down this custom, no mother ever entrusts her child to someone else… Another point is the custom of prolonging the period of maternal feeding. Sometimes this lasts for a year and a half; sometimes for two, or even three years. This has nothing to do with the child’s nutritional needs, because for some time he has been able to assimilate other kinds of food; but prolonged lactation requires the mother to remain with her child, and this satisfies her unconscious need to give her offspring the help of a full social life on which to construct his mind.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, pp 105-106.

While feminists and other day care advocates have repeatedly asserted that government must ensure access to ‘affordable, high-quality day care’ for all who want it, they assuredly are not referring to the only child care we know of that fits that description. What is needed is for someone to make the argument for the best (in fact the only workable) system of child care the world has known: mom.” Brian Robertson, There’s No Place Like Work, p. 32.

One mother wrote of her fears of staying home along as a child because her mother worked.  She also said she had no one to show an interest in her as a child and to be a champion for her when she needed one.  In her eyes, mothering is “the most important job…that literally saves lives.”  As she said:  “I would live in a dirt shack before I would not be there for my kids.”  Cincinnati mother

Andrew Payton Thomas in his book, Crime and the Sacking of America, says that children are neglected so that adults can have bigger homes and better cars.  He continues:  “The rise of daycare in modern America says some painful things about us as parents and as a nation and culture, things that are easier for adults to leave unsaid.  But the truth is always worth telling, and it is this: Many American parents today simply do not wish to raise their own children.  Indeed, never before in history have a people become so intensely individualistic that their love for their children can be purchased so cheaply…Children are taught, literally from the cradle, that life is looking out for #1.”

“I urge you not to delegate the primary child-rearing task to anyone else during your child’s first three years of life.” Burton White, The Family in America, February 1991.

Conclusion:  More information on this topic is available at the NFPI website at

Sheila:  Babies do need their mothers. The continuous contact with mom during the early years is the first step towards building a good foundation for life and future relationships. God provides for this essential foundation through the presence of the mother. How does He do this? With breastfeeding. The breastfeeding relationship ensures that the mother will remain with her baby. As Maria Montessori stressed years ago, prolonged lactation of 1.5 to 3 years is good for the baby because it keeps the mother with her baby.


Natural Family Planning with Ecological Breastfeeding

December 6th, 2020

Return of Fertility for Nursing Mothers

Our research shows that women who adopt the natural mothering program will average 14.6 months without periods following childbirth. This is only an average. Some, an exceptional few, will experience a return before 6.0 months postpartum. Others will go as along as 2.5 years without menses while nursing.

Some mothers who are well informed about natural family planning and fertility awareness have found that even when periods return early, they charted many infertile cycles with continued frequent nursing. Thus for some mothers under the natural mother program, fertility is delayed, even though menstruation is occurring regularly.

These mothers who go two years without a period are on the long side of the average in our study, but they are not abnormal. Indeed, there is some indication that such extended breastfeeding amenorrhea is common in some cultures. One study among the Eskimos showed that the mothers who nursed traditionally did not conceive until twenty to thirty months after childbirth, whereas the younger mothers who adopted the American practices of supplements and bottle-feeding were conceiving within two to four months after childbirth. When I wrote the first version of this book in 1969, I felt a breastfeeding amenorrhea of twelve months was exceptionally long. Since that time I have met quite a few mothers who have experienced amenorrhea of longer duration, so that 24 to 30 months without a postpartum period sounds very normal.  Three mothers reported to me in a survey that they went 41 and 42 months postpartum without any menstruation.

It is generally thought that the saying that a woman cannot get pregnancy while nursing is an old wives’ tale or superstition. Doctors commonly express this view. I agree that a woman can get pregnant while nursing. However, this fact does not present the whole story. With the typical American pattern of restricted nursing, fertility returns quite quickly—frequently just as quickly as for the non-nursing mother. On the other hand, with proper knowledge and support, with the adoption of the natural mothering program, the average nursing mother will experience an extended period of infertility. If no form of birth regulation is used except ecological breastfeeding, babies on the average will be born about two to three years apart.  (Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing, 2008, page 63-64)

Sheila Kippley

Natural Family Planning with Ecological Breastfeeding

November 29th, 2020

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.

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.

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.  (NFPI teaching manual, page 110)

Sheila Kippley