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04 October 2010

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Christy Porucznik

You may be interested to read some of the protocols for 'special circumstances' described on the nfp dot marquette dot edu webpage.

Barbara C.

I think one reason that CCL stopped pushing EBF for spacing is I heard stories of people calling for help and being criticized for not doing EBF right. It turned some people off of CCL.

Personally, I find that my fertility is directly related to my weight. When I start the weaning process (usually around 12 months), my weight increases and my fertility returns.

I am really, really trying to keep my weight at a healthy level during this postpartum year, so I am very nervous about how this will effect the return of my fertility.

Jamie

You know what makes me crazy about ecological breastfeeding? I hate the rule that you're supposed to nap with your baby. It is based on anecdata: we've heard from women who got their fertility back later when they napped with their babies, and when women get their fertility back early they usually aren't napping with their babies. In the explanations I've seen from the Kippleys, they don't take into consideration the other possible mechanisms-- did the mom stop watching the clock and nurse more frequently with her second baby? Did the mom get into the Marilyn Shannon/LLL nutrition stuff and drop 5 or 10 pounds between #1 and #2? In coming up with that explanation, did they consider that most women don't nap with their babies? I mean, most women who get their fertility back early also have two legs, but we wouldn't suggest that they amputate one if we noticed longer duration of amenorrhea among amputees.

I think the reason I hate it is that naptime is when you get your own stuff done if you're a mom. The idea of lying down for a nap during naptime feels utterly suffocating to me -- but according to the Kippleys I'm not breastfeeding my baby properly if I don't do it. It seems to me to be tied up with all that 50s-era thinking in The Art of NFP.

(This comment brought to you courtesy of my decision not to nap during naptime. Even if they're right about its impact on my hypothalamus/pituitary, which remains to be determined, I would gladly, GLADLY trade 2 or 3 or 6 months of amenorrhea for the pleasures of a quiet house with a sleeping baby.)

Jamie

On a practical and non-ranty note: have you tried heading out for the day to someplace very distracting? Maybe going to the zoo with a sippy cup of water and a stash of reasonably nutritious and appealing solids? It might just take one day with 6 or fewer nursings to kickstart your ovaries and end the ambiguity. I applaud your determination not to deprive him of what he needs, but perhaps you could manipulate the environment so his needs shift a little.

Monica

I totally hear you! I have 3 kids, not 4, but return of fertility SIGNS came a lot sooner than return of cycles for all of my kids postpartum. At about 4 months for each of them, and then it took a LONG time for cycles to return -- weeks and weeks of more-fertile mucus. We teach for CCL, and were trained in the old method before we retrained in the new method, so I know all the things you're supposed to look for, all the EBF standards, and for some women (including you and me, I guess!) they just don't hold off fertility signs for that long.

On the other hand, I also know a woman who had 3 years of no cycles at all -- her fertility didn't return until her son gave up that last, 5-minute nursing session just before bed.

I think it's a case of different women's bodies being different, and I think it's why we have to be alert for returning signs, rather than just counting on it to work for us as it's worked for others. You're right, it just doesn't work reliably like that for everyone.

rachel

So here's a question for you knowledgeable women: my cycles did not return until we weaned completely and finally (26 months with # 1, and 23 months with #2). From your experience, would you say that this is the way my body works, and I can assume so with some confidence with # 3? (FWIW, I am and always have been slightly underweight). Please excuse my piggybacking, but I cannot get a doctor to take this question seriously, and reckon this forum will have some experience.

Jamie

Rachel, keep an eye out for changes in your circumstances: a baby who sleeps more at night, or who is more distracted during the day, or who takes more solids, reducing your milk supply and further diminishing his motivation to nurse. If you had to wean completely with the first two, it's an excellent guess that you'll see the same thing with #3, but a significant change in circumstances could cause earlier return of fertility.

MelanieB

Yeah I have a problem with the reliable/unreliable language. Whether you're EBFing or not, what is reliable or not is your fertility signs. This is how I see it: EBF may bring about amenorrhea for whatever length of time it does.

If I'm trying to avoid pregnancy during that time I don't see it as relying on EBF, I'm relying on the fact that I'm not experiencing signs of fertility. to say I was relying on EBF would seem to be saying that I was completely oblivious-- and deliberately so-- of any fertility signs and was just hoping that this month would be the same as last month in terms of no fertility merely because I was engaging in behaviors that matched with the 7 standards of EBF. But at least the way the standards were presented to me, I never assumed they were somehow equivalent to the "rules" of NFP. They don't help me to determine my fertility or infertility; but rather help me to determine whether I may be engaging in behaviors that will affect fertility's return. But to determine fertility I rely not on the 7 standards but on the signs of fertility. Does that distinction make sense or am I talking in circles?

MrsDarwin

"I'd say that unless you're happy with lactation being your only spacing mechanism -- which is fine for many families, I know -- the measure of reliability has a lot more to do with whether you can detect the return of fertility clearly enough that you know when to start abstaining in anticipation of switching to NFP."

This is so key. I mean, so what if you have amenorrhea if your signs keep indicating that you could at any given instant be fertile?

My baby is three months old, and I've found in the past that four months is when I need to start keeping a good eye on symptoms (though I have weeks and weeks of on-again, off-again EWM, and we've taken our share of calculated risks in the ambiguous window).

bearing

Christy P reminded me -- among other things, maybe she'll weigh in again -- that in the first six months the reliability of lactational amenorrhea -- that means, "ignoring fertility signs" -- is quite high (98%) with only three standards:

1) baby less than six months old
2) menses have not returned
3) baby exclusively breastfed

I am with Jamie: the daily nap that is supposedly a requirement for the
"7 standards" is a COMPLETE deal-breaker. I have never known anyone with more than 1 child who managed it. I am really suspicious that the daily nap functions purely as an instrument of plausible deniability. Since hardly anyone does it, the method can never be said to fail!

I think if you're dealing with a population that is suspicious about the licitness of NFP in the first place and/or inclined to decide outright to just let breastfeeding space babies, it sort of makes sense to focus on extended lactational amenorrhea and discuss the things that will make it longer (which, I repeat, are good for babies anyway -- and moms -- and maybe there are some dads out there who move heaven and earth to make sure their wives get a daily nap!) But maybe it would be more practical for those of us who expect to transition from lactational amenorrhea back to NFP to *expect* a long ambiguous window? I mean, it's taken me 4 kids to figure out that my experience is not all that abnormal.

MrsDarwin

I wish I remembered when I last had a daily nap. Probably when I had two adults watching my kids, right after baby was born.

Anecdotal evidence from the women I know suggest that a long ambiguous window is normal. Also, I've come to the realization (over the past 9 years of marriage) that if you want to space children, you just have to expect to have less sex. The young and inexperienced think that marriage is a license to have all the fun denied a couple before the benefit of the sacrament, but that's really not so. The honeymoon can only last so long.

Jamie

Just as a data point -- I've never had a long ambiguous window. Twice I've had a sudden return of fertility after a day of significantly diminished nursing at 14-15 months; three times I've had an unmistakable fertile phase followed by a short luteal phase at 20 months postpartum. There's been some ambiguity and long Phase II stretches in the subsequent cycles, but I've never hung out for weeks wondering if my fertility was returning prior to that first period. (Don't throw any cyber-spitballs, please.)

bearing

*holstering spitball gun*

Four for four with the long ambiguous window here.

I have half a mind to take that line from MrsDarwin's comment ("If you want to space children, you just have to expect to have less sex") and plaster it on the title of another post. I have certainly heard people claim that on average, NFP users and contraceptors don't differ much in frequency of intercourse, but you certainly get longer dry spells with NFP.

I think it's healthier to acknowledge this stuff up front, frankly. I have written this paragraph over and over in an attempt to articulate the weird combination of "boy this is a pain" and "I still wouldn't trade NFP for artificial contraception, yuck, even if the Pope said I could" that we operate under. I'm sure it looks positively incomprehensible from the outside.

RealMom4Life

Interesting post. I have 7 kids and I napped with most of them. Maybe I'm the oddball here. I need my mid-day rest. I no longer remember all the "rules" for EBF. But, sleeping with my baby, exclusive bf, bf on demand...my kids are mostly spaced 2 years apart.

My 2nd wasn't conceived until I intentionally weaned the first at 22 months. My 6th was conceived with no "warning period" at 13 months pp. Other than weaning child number 1 to conceive, the rest were conceived while nursing. Since we don't normally offer many solids until 12 months I suppose that makes sense.

I have never done EBF for the purpose of child spacing, I do it for the child I am nursing. But, the amenorreha and spacing are a nice add on benefit. My little guy (2 years 8 months) has only wanted to nurse once in the last week or so (he even told me NO when I offered once).

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

Bearing, thanks so much for the great discussion on EBF.

I agree 100 percent: "I'd say that EBF is worth doing for the baby's sake, and if you get some spacing out of it." Amen!

However, I still don't understand how we can call charting or observing our fertility signs as "reliable" and then not call EBF reliable. One qualm people seem to have is that EBF is not reliable in allowing fertility signs to be clear. That is, EBF can make it more confusing for people to practice NFP. I can understand this argument, but that doesn’t mean EBF cannot be referred to as a reliable form of child spacing. Now perhaps how we define “reliable” needs to be examined; however, I’d think most of us would agree children space 2 to 2 1/2 years apart is fairly decent spacing (the CDC recommends 2 1/2 years as the ideal child spacing). EBF is shown to space children 2 years apart on average.

A lot of people who seem to not want to call EBF reliable are really saying it’s not reliable because the 7 standards are impossible to follow, but that’s flawed. Instead, why not say EBF is not practical because the 7 standards are difficult to follow. That’s more accurate than saying EBF is not reliable.

As the author of the original article, I’ve tried very hard to not be judgmental to people who choose not to practice EBF. I was trying to share my personal positive experience with EBF. My hope is to spread awareness about EBF in case there's some woman out there who would want to give it a try - without piling on the guilt or coming off as “holier than thou.” As I explained in the article, I was an accidental EBF-practicing mom. No one had mentioned it to me, but I just instinctively followed the seven standards with my first, partly because I ran in crunchy crowds (so it probably was just instincts but peer pressure, too!). :-)

Today I'm an EBF parent partly out of sheer laziness. It's easier for me to comfort my little ones with nursing that using other tactics. And I don’t get those naps any longer. I agree they are very difficult in our culture. If I wasn’t a homeschooling mom, I probably would still try to nap with my little one. Or if I lived in a big village. However, just because I can’t “wholly embrace” (the words you quoted from me from the combox where I didn’t have time to piece together a particularly sound response) doesn’t mean EBF is not reliable as a form of child spacing. Let’s remember too that the point of the 7 standards as I mentioned in my article is to promote mother and baby togetherness. The more you’re together, the more you’re likely to nurse.

We should never make any woman feel guilty for not being able to follow the 7 standards, but we also can’t say that EBF doesn’t work if people aren’t even following the standards. Likewise, the variation of why EBF isn't always "reliable" doesn't always have to do with the efficacy of frequent suckling in promoting natural infertility but has more to do with the nursing patterns of different babies. I couldn't conceive until I weaned my first who was most definitely a high-need baby. However, my second did not have an intense need to nurse like my first and I conceived our youngest in a closer interval (they’re 23 months apart as opposed to my first two being spaced 30 months apart). This isn't because EBF wasn't as “reliable” the second go-round. It's because my children had different needs, which I could argue does make it more reliable in natural child spacing since I was more well-equipped to have my second two spaced closer together since I was getting more sleep and wasn’t dealing with a high-need baby like I was with my first (who nursed all throughout the night).

And yes, it's true that some women despite nursing frequently all through the day and night (and those night nursing sessions are really tied to fertility in my own experience much more so than the daily naps) will have an early return of fertility. Our bodies are unique and will respond to differently to same amount of suckling stimulus. Yet, there's a wealth of evidence-based medicine as well as empirical research that shows that following the seven standards (rather than simply exclusively breastfeeding, which is often seen as being synonymous with ecological breastfeeding when it's not) is a reliable form of natural child spacing. Fool-proof? No. Perfect? Well, that depends on our own perceptions of perfect child spacing and not God's. But if we're to say NFP using the Sympto-Thermal method can be a reliable form of spacing children if just reasons are discerned, then we should be able to say EBF is also reliable since it spaces babies an average of two years apart. Now if we’re using the term reliable only to refer to detecting signs of fertility, then perhaps EBF isn’t as reliable. There is some unpredictability, but isn’t there unpredictability whenever your cycle returns? Without EBF, the unpredictability and confusing fertility signs return sooner rather than later, but you still have a confusing period before charting becomes more clear.

I guess it boils down, as so often is the case, to semantics and what reliable means to you.

At any rate, I so appreciate the candid conversation and hearing everyone’s opinions and insight.

God bless!

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

A few more things:

I should have written in my comment above that I tried very hard not to come off as judgmental (rather than be judgmental) because the fact of the matter is I feel no judgment either way toward people who practice EBF and those who don't. (Although I perhaps unfairly feel too wounded or misunderstood when people question what I write; I'm working on this).

The decision to give EBF a shot does not lie in morality. Likewise, I should have reiterated that by far the biggest perk for my family that has come from me ecological breastfeeding is exactly what Bearing is pointing out here: It's been a good experience for my baby (toddler) and me.

I didn't set out to practice EBF. It was accidental. I also don't continue to embrace it because it's a natural child spacer, although the potential for it to do such should be discussed more just so women/families have the option of considering it. (And I'm thankful my article sparked such a discussion.)

EBF has been a blessing to my own family, not a burden like it sounds like it is for some families. As I recently wrote about (having nothing to do with EBF), I try to "keep my eyes on my own work" and to stay focused on my own life and choices and how they impact me spiritually. As someone who is compelled to write, I then sometimes share what worked for me, not to judge, not to invite my life to be put on the dissection table (although I know I invite scrutiny by writing for the Web), but to simply share.

Bearing, your post title is really what I was attempting to define in my previous comment. What I mean by "reliable" is spacing children about two years apart without having to obsess over charts. However, some women prefer the charting. This is more reliable to them and less unpredictable. EBF has been much more predictable for me personally, but I'm not trying to globalize that and say, "Hey! This worked for me. It will work for you, too!" Yet, I wish people who found that EBF didn't work for them would do the same. It seems all the empirical anecdotes of how EBF didn't space their children reliably, etc. is taken as proof that EBF doesn't work for most families while the fact that EBF works in other cultures without a fancy name or a microscopic evaluation of what even constitutes EBF is chalked up as a fluke.

Last night I went to bed pondering reliability and it struck me that I have some friends who practice EBF and embrace the seven standards simply because it's their style of mothering. I had one non-Catholic friend email and say she didn't call what she did EBF nor did she practice NFP, but she didn't contracept either. She just allowed babies to naturally come (her several children are spaced no closer than 2 years apart). This made me wonder why it's us Catholics (myself included) who are so concerned about the reliability of anything pertaining to child spacing. While I'm not suggesting God calls all of us to have enough children to field a baseball team, maybe I personally should stop trying to prove how reliable EBF can be and simply practice it and share with others how it's been a joy for our family (especially those lucky, little milk mongers!). Just after that article was posted, I lost a sweet baby that I'm still mourning. I've been grappling with so many emotions (and even felt I had to question my culpability after reading some of the comments after the Inside Catholic article, which was not fun and just split my wound further). But what suffering this loss to miscarriage has really reminded me (other than how blessed I am to have three sweet girls and so many friends and family to reach out to me as I navigate this bone-aching loss) is how perhaps the most reliable child spacer is God and I just need to trust him whether I continue to practice EBF down the road or not.

Sorry for the rambling mess. I'm going to slip away now. I wish I'd never chimed in. Silence is so much more fruitful for me than feeling like I have to sling words out there to defend anything I've written in the past. (It's a terrible weakness of mine.) I don't always choose my words wisely (another weakness), so I just felt compelled (yet another one!) to clarify a few things but enough already! :-)

God bless.

bearing

Kate, I don't know what's going on in the comments at Inside Catholic, but nobody here is questioning your personal experience. I am sure plenty of mothers enjoy the benefits of extended breastfeeding amenorrhea. Perhaps if "reliable" is taken to mean "some people are happy to rely upon it" then the word is appropriate. I tend to use the word differently, as you can probably see from my post.

I am aware of the 2 to 2 1/2 year spacing average. However, the average spacing length is largely irrelevant when people are wondering, "What are my chances of becoming pregnant within the first six months postpartum? What are my chances in the second six months?" For this, you need a measure of the pregnancy *rate,* not a measure of the average.

Let me throw out a crude mathematical example: if half of people using Method X to avoid pregnancy get pregnant in two months, and half of them get pregnant in 17 months, the average spacing between babies would still be two years. But even if two years is exactly the spacing I wanted, I sure wouldn't consider Method X to be prudent.

As faithful Catholics who wish to prudently space babies without resorting to methods that are not licit, *and* who wish to nurse our babies in a way that tends to produce months of amenorrhea, we've got few choices during amenorrhea. They are:

(1) ignore fertility signs, engage in intercourse, and accept that there's an unknown but not negligible chance of becoming pregnant after about 6 months postpartum

(2) watch carefully for fertiity signs and begin abstinence as soon as they show up -- then wait until either cycles come back or we judge that it is no longer necessary to prudently postpone pregnancy

(3) watch carefully for fertility signs and engage in intercourse only when we judge the chances of conception are sufficiently low, until cycles come back or we judge it is no longer necessary to prudently postpone pregnancy

oh, and let's not forget (4) attempt to kick-start cycles as Jamie suggested.

The part that's necessary for men and women not to feel that they've been misled? A realism that allows them to accept either the cross of those "unknown but not negligible chances," or the cross of sometimes considerable abstinence. Or, as MrsDarwin put it -- "if you want to space children, you just have to expect less sex." Some of the time anyway.

rachel

Thank you, Jamie (Erin, my apologies again).

MrsDarwin

Erin, feel free to borrow the line and write as much post as you feel like. I've been meaning to write about that for some time, but my idea-to-post ratio makes a pretty poor showing.

Also, the "average" spacing means nothing when you're the one getting pregnant at 7 mo. postpartum. I continued breastfeeding my first daughter pretty much on demand until she was 14 months old -- but by then I was almost eight months pregnant. For some people it just don't work that way, and that's why I agree that it's only a "reliable" way of spacing children in hindsight. But I think that NFP is supposed to be about foresight.

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

Bearing, I didn't feel like anyone was questioning my personal experience. Sorry if my comments suggested that. The reason I was over explaining things is because I know that blog readers often read a post referencing a particular article without even clicking on the link to the original article, or they just quickly skim it with a skewed point of view. The brief snippet you included and attributed as "the author's response" was not representative of my attitude and approach to NFP and EBF. I encourage folks to read the entire Inside Catholic article as well as the comments that follow. There's a good discussion over there.

I've long admired your writing and your logic and agree that as Catholics wishing to remain obedient to the Church's teachings, we are frequently forced to choose between crosses, and I suppose for me choosing the cross of what you refer to as "unknown but not negligible chances" is easier to bear (we've been fortunate not to have to endure long stretches of abstinence using EBF and given our season of parenthood, although months of bed rest with two pregnancies has been good practice!). Maybe that's why one person commented after the original article that women who follow EBF are at whim to their husband's insatiable sexual appetites. I found that quite humorous.

But I digress. In my own research as well as based on my own experience, it doesn't seem that I'm really dealing with unknown and negligible chances all that much.

As someone mentioned in their comment, using LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method) is 98 to 99.5 percent effective in preventing pregnancy IF all of the following conditions are met:
1. Your baby is less than six months old
2. Your menstrual periods have not yet returned
3. Baby is breastfeeding on cue both day & night and gets nothing but breastmilk or only very small amounts of other foods.

Most people are aware of that stat. But I don't hear this one being quoted as much: There exists only a 6 percent chance of becoming pregnant even AFTER 6 months if EBF is fully embraced AND a woman's period hasn't returned (that's why we put so much emphasis on amenorrhea when we're discussing the reliability of EBF; it's very important in predicting the chance of pregnancy). SOURCE: a La Leche League document entitled "Natural Child Spacing and Breastfeeding."

Now I'm well aware Mrs. Darwin (I've read her posts on EBF, but it's been a long time) and others have had entirely different experiences and would argue against these stats. Yet, many of these same women also say they have not followed the 7 standards (i.e., have not fully embraced EBF). And I completely understand that those 7 standards are not for everyone or even very practical in Western culture. There's no reason to pile on the guilt or to make any poor new mom suffer angst if she finds EBF impossible (or just a pain in the you-know-what to put to practice).Yet, how can someone who says they didn't follow the 7 standards of EBF also say that EBF isn't reliable and that you just have to not have sex? Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that following the 7 standards isn't practical and that's what makes EBF unreliable? There's a difference, I think. I know this isn't the argument you were making, Bearing, but it's one I've heard over and over that EBF doesn't work in spacing children because I can't sleep with my kids or nap or I had to use a pacifier. There's nothing wrong with doing any of these things, but you're not fully practicing EBF if you don't follow the 7 standards, so it's more likely not to work and to not be reliable. Now I've been able to not practice all the 7 standards and still have a delayed return in fertility, but I do nurse all of the time and am not separated from my nurslings much at all (which as I mentioned is the ultimate goal of the 7 standards).

One other point I have to make: Many women are at a different phase in their mothering life than I am. Ask me in five years if I'm still falling into your category 1 and not paying much attention to my fertility signs or abstaining much at all and just relying on breastfeeding to space my babies. I may very well be singing a different tune, although I hope I'll still enjoy the more important perks of breastfeeding on cue and into toddlerhood. Bearing, you make such a good point that perhaps we should talk more about EBF in terms of how it benefits mom and baby rather than as a reliable child spacing mechanism. We all have unique situations that impact our family planning. I stopped charting completely after my first UNTIL I couldn't get pregnant. I was ready for more babies! After dealing with postpartum depression following my third, some things have changed, and I had to meet with a new NFP teacher for a refresher course to help me pay more attention to my fertility signs. However, I ended up getting lazy again and am now relying on breastfeeding (to me it's so much easier and maybe that makes it less sanctifying :)). These days, I'm really having to pray more and to bend more to God's will even if it terrifies me.

While I agree 100 percent that we have to convey a certain level of realism when presenting EBF (which I felt my original article did), just as Mrs. Darwin wisely said that if you want to space babies, you have to expect to have less family, let's not discount that there are families who could also say, "if you want to space children, you just have to expect to nurse a lot and not be separated from your nursling."

Now wasn't I supposed to stop clogging your combox? :-)

God bless!

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

I meant you have to expect to have less sex, not less family. Sorry, Mrs. Darwin!

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

p.s. I just realized Bearing is Erin. I should have known this from the other comments and from our past email correspondence. I apologize for being so impersonal. I do like the name Bearing though and all that it evokes!

MrsDarwin

Kate, I've been in the midst of a move and dealing with a very flawed Internet connection, so I hadn't been able to fully read dow the comments here. I am so,so sorry to read of your miscarriage and of the pain caused you by thoughtless comments.

I should say that like Erin/Bearing, I believe in EBF as a way of childrearing, but not as child spacing. Perhaps I'm not trusting enough, but at the moment I'm still smarting from the discovery of stretchy mucus the day after my baby turned three months old. I could just brush it off and figure that I'm safe for three more months -- but I really feel that I' not quite ready for my sixth child twelve months after my second, or to be having morning sickness when my husband and I currently (but temporarily) live in different cities. Which is what makes stretchy mucus now so frustrating, because by the time my three days of watching are up, it will be Monday and we'll be apart again.

And no, I haven't been getting a daily nap with baby, so maybe it's my own fault...

Christy P

no idea this thread was so busy!

Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

Mrs. Darwin, I've been reading about your move, house hunting, and the iPad assisting you along the way over in your virtual tablet. Hope it goes smoothly. It must have been tough leaving Jen (and others, too, I'm sure).

Thank you for your kind thoughts about the miscarriage. I'm glad I finally decided to bring it out into the open as it's helped me sort out my feelings. Only, now I can't seem to keep quiet about it. It's like I have to talk about it to keep the baby real. I'm sure that will pass.

Not your fault at all Re: EBF, and it's this very kind of comment that makes me shy away from speaking about EBF. I've made it my goal to edify and support moms, not make them feel guilty, etc. I do try to share what works for me because perhaps it will work for someone else. My experience has been different. I don't get any of the goop for a long time even if I'm not napping with my babies. :-) But it's not about trusting more or less or about guilt. To me, it's just about awareness. "Here's what EBF is. Here's what it means to practice EBF. It's not the same as unrestricted breastfeeding. It's a great way to childrear for many families, and it also serves as an effective and beautiful way to naturally space children for some families. But if you really have discerned a just reason for postponing pregnancy, then abstaining whenever you have any fertility signs may be the required sacrifice of you." That sort of thing.

Good luck with the move, etc., and thanks to everyone for a helpful as well as charitable discussion on what can be a touchy subject.

Blessings.

MrsDarwin

Okay, that should have read, "not ready for my sixth child twelve months after my FIFTH", not "second". I can't even account for the kind of Freudian slip that would explain such a mistyping.

Amy F

Oh geez, how timely. After reading this and attempting to comment last night, I appear to be bleeding slightly today, at 11 weeks pp. Seriously? I've never started cycling before 9 months pp. This better be a fluke.

bearing

Amy, did you get any withdrawal bleeding around 8 weeks pp?

Jamie

Hey, Kate, all of my grousy rantiness was directed at the book on ecological breastfeeding. I didn't find your post judgmental or rant-inducing in the slightest. Don't know if you will see this, but I hope you are healing. Best wishes to you.

Amy F

No, I've been remarkably free from any mucus or bleeding since 6 or 7 wks pp.

I've had the slightest spotting over the past couple days. So weird. I'm definitely not a fan of symptom interpretation pp.

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