Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding

January 25th, 2015

The language that Pope Francis used about family size certainly got attention, but the Church has always taught that a couple does not have to seek to have as many children as they can have, biologically speaking.  As soon as there was scientific speculation that women, like many other mammals, have periodic fertility, the Vatican stated that it would be legitimate for a couple to abstain during the fertile time of the cycle in order to avoid pregnancy—and that was in 1850. The Church teaches that a couple can use systematic natural family planning if they have a sufficiently serious reason.  Such reasons are given in Humanae Vitae.

The Pope also referred to natural family planning which today is highly effective when understood and practiced by couples who have a real need to avoid pregnancy, especially if they use a system that cross-checks two of the fertility signs.

Much has also been made of the Pope’s reference that humans should not produce like rabbits.  In the old days, two babies born within a 12-month span sometimes were called “Catholic twins.”  What is not mentioned in all the discussions on this topic is that God has a plan for spacing our children’s births.  A physiology teacher in the Fifties taught in her high school class that the reproductive cycle ends with breastfeeding.  She was a wonderful teacher.  Of course, as one of her students, I did not fully understand what that all meant.  Unfortunately today everyone assumes that the reproductive cycle ends with childbirth.  Not so, if you take nature as your norm.  Repeated research has shown that mothers who practice ecological breastfeeding experience, on average, 14 to 15 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea (no periods), some less and some much more.

We are the only American NFP organization that teaches the Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding, a form of natural mothering that spaces babies.  The Seven Standards are simply maternal behaviors associated with extended breastfeeding amenorrhea. For example, no bottles, no formula, no pacifiers, no babysitting, no strict schedules, and more.  See the Seven Standards.  The key is mother-baby closeness and frequent suckling.  Some mothers may not be able to practice eco-breastfeeding for various reasons; but among those who do, their appreciation is frequently huge.

World and Church leaders should promote ecological breastfeeding whenever natural family planning is discussed.  Couples should be able to learn this option for planning their families.
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Witness: “The Kippleys’ teaching about ecological breastfeeding was instrumental to my conversion, not only to the fullness of Church teaching on marriage, but to the Catholic faith itself.  I was a 30-something, “childless-by-choice”, nominal Protestant when I encountered it and my heart was so changed that I became Catholic within a year, AND became pregnant with my first child.  My husband and I used ONLY ecological breastfeeding to space our three children going forward, and our marriage and family life has been immeasurably enriched.  Bishops who encourage this teaching are truly evangelizing in a desperately needed way in today’s world.” Pamela Pilch
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Another witness:  “Since our marriage, my husband and I have used ecological breastfeeding to space our 6 children, you guessed it, 2-3 years apart.  I hope to further your work to share ecological breastfeeding with the world!”  She adds the benefits:  “no menstrual bleeding, no cramps, migraines, PMS, or pads; and no ovulations—for years on end.  My husband and I have been free of what others call the “fear” of pregnancy, that is, free to enjoy each other intimately for years without any concerns or even [a] thought given to preventing pregnancy.  No potentially contentious discussions about whether to try for another baby.  No need to chart.  No need to take temps.  Simply letting God plan our family.  By the time my fertility has returned, we have been mentally in the place where another pregnancy and another baby seemed….well…natural!” Christelle Hagen
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Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

Confession As An Adult

January 18th, 2015

Does a habit during childhood continue during our later years?  Does going to confession often during the grade-school years make it easier to go to confession during our later years?

I know that at a few rare parishes there is often a long line for confession.  As one guest of ours said, the line at one church he goes to for confession wraps all around the entire church!  But most parishes have only a few persons waiting in line during the time for confessions.  One priest friend told us recently his concern:  many Catholics wait in long lines to receive Communion but they are rarely if ever in line for confession.

This got me thinking.  I don’t know what Catholic schools are doing to promote confession.  I do know that I did ask about the policy where our children once went to school.  I was told that all the children were taught to go face to face with the priest.  They were not taught the option of using the screen.  That upset me as I prefer the screen.  We had a convert friend who always went face-to-face and later discovered the screen.  He preferred the screen.

I started thinking about my school days.  The Thursday before First Friday we all went to confession.  On First Friday we all attended Mass.  Afterwards, we celebrated with a donut and milk or orange juice.  We didn’t have donuts at home so that was a real treat.  At the end of the school year, every student who went to Mass and Communion for the nine First Fridays received a certificate.

When I started our Catholic homeschool organization I instituted the same policy.  Those who make their nine First Fridays received a certificate at the end-of-the-year ceremony.

Can grade-school children develop a habit of going to confession?  I know that it’s been easy for me to go to confession as needed during grade school, high school, college and today.  And I often wonder if that was due to my upbringing at my Catholic grade school.  Would more teenagers, young adults and older folks go more often to confession if they had the habit of going every month during their grade-school years?  I wonder….  Any comments?

Sheila Kippley

The Influence of One Priest

January 11th, 2015

Below is our priest friend’s homily for Christ the King feast day on November 23rd, 2014.
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In 1925, Pope Pius XI established this last Sunday of the liturgical year as the Solemnity of Christ the King.

And he did it to remind the world, particularly Europe, that Christ is the one to whom we owe our first allegiance — not a political party, not ideologies, not political leaders, particularly he meant people like Lenin, Stalin and things like communism and national socialism.

He did it to help save the world, if he could, from class envy, class warfare and warfare between nations that was being fomented by reckless ideologies and evil leaders of evil political movements.

He tried to recall people, to remind people that the claim of Christ — on our souls, on our consciences and on our obedience — comes first — before any allegiance to political structures or persons.

Our relationship to God takes precedence over every relationship.  The reason for this Solemnity then, is just as valid now.  God must be first in our hearts.  God’s commandments of love must reign in our hearts.  And then, God’s law and the natural law must reign over and throughout civil society if that civil society is to experience real peace, justice and good order.

But, we can see that God’s ways have been rejected; adultery, abandonment, rampant divorce, the destruction of the family, fatherless families, legalized abortion, state sponsored contraception, decades of disrespect in this country for proper parental authority, drug abuse, homosexual behavior, premarital sex, — living together.

These things cause great instability and chaos.  This chaos in our society is promoted by and used by socialists and progressives and anarchists and nihilists to gain power and control over people.  This is what big government is about.  Big government has nothing to do with real peace and real justice or freedom.

Today is Christ the King.  Let’s be firm in our resolve to live God’s commandments of love and true justice and that God may reign in our hearts.  Obedience to God’s way and His Church is what everyone really needs.  Now let’s be strengthened in our resolve as the Lord feeds and nourishes us with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
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Next Week: Some Thoughts on Confession
Sheila Kippley