Link to  Springfield, Illinois  Diocese on Natural Family Planning:


P.O. Box 2392, Orange Grove, TX  78372, (361) 384-0067,

May  2022  Newsletter

God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws (Humanae Vitae, n.11).

While breastfeeding should be promoted for its many health benefits for mother and baby, in this newsletter I will direct my attention to the natural child spacing benefit of breastfeeding.

“After contraceptive use, breastfeeding duration is the major determinant of the birth interval length… In many countries the duration of breastfeeding is more important in determining the length of birth intervals than is contraceptive use” (Becker, Rutstein, & Labbok, “Estimation of Births Averted due to Breastfeeding and Increases in Levels of Contraception Needed to Substitute for Breastfeeding,” J. Biosocial Science, 2003, 35: 559- 560).

Breastfeeding is the strongest natural influence in spacing babies within an individual family and in maintaining a slow rate of population growth. As the researchers above stressed, in developing countries where contraceptive use is low it is rare to have birth intervals of less than two years, thanks to breastfeeding. They add: “Today [2003], it is clear that breastfeeding, as a major biological determinant of fertility return postpartum, contributes significantly to this interval” (Becker, Rutstein & Labbok, 559).

For me it is uplifting to hear a speaker rave about the mucus sign or the sympto-thermal method to couples, but, on the other hand, it is dismaying when the breastfeeding aspect of NFP is ignored at such events. The only organized NFP program in the U.S. that I know of that gives any serious attention to the form of breastfeeding that normally delays the return of fertility for over a year postpartum is NFP International. Catholic Nursing Mothers League also teaches eco-breastfeeding and natural child spacing.

With systematic natural family planning, the couple deals with fertility on a regular basis with their cycles. Many of these couples abstain during the fertile time of each cycle to avoid pregnancy. With breastfeeding the couple deals with infertility. Breastfeeding couples usually enjoy a year or more of infertility, and thus abstinence is often not an issue. Breastfeeding Catholics might practice abstinence for spiritual reasons during Advent and Lent, or periodically at other times, but abstinence is not required for spacing purposes when a couple breastfeeds properly. I use the term “couple” because a mom who is doing ecological breastfeeding definitely needs the support of her husband in a bottle-feeding culture.

What we need in our Church and in our society is a strong emphasis on natural child spacing so couples will learn how to use breastfeeding to space their babies. Wouldn’t it be a teaching moment to have a conference on natural child spacing with speakers who have experienced this aspect of breastfeeding in their professional work or in their personal life? There are still countries or areas where breastfeeding is the primary family planning method. Couples from these countries would have much to share with us.

Dr. Roger Short from the Department of Physiology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia contributed to the United Nations symposium report on Nutrition and Population Links – Breastfeeding, Family Planning and Child Health (Nutrition Policy Discussion Paper No. 11, May 1992). Dr. Short concluded:
Since the dawn of civilization, we have been interfering with breastfeeding. The rearing of infants on artificial foods has been the largest uncontrolled clinical experiment ever undertaken, and it is still going on, despite the disastrous consequences. It has brought untold suffering, disease and death to countless millions of babies. The erosion of breastfeeding’s natural contraceptive effect has been a major factor in bringing about the recent explosive growth of the human population. There is no cheaper or more effective way of improving maternal and infant health and lowering fertility, than the promotion of breastfeeding. (Ch. 4: Breastfeeding, Fertility and Population Growth, p. 11) 

Sheila Kippley
Co-founder and current volunteer
NFP International

March  2022  Newsletter

In my opinion, the real purpose of NFP instruction sponsored by the Catholic Church is to evangelize Catholics, other Christians, and anyone who will listen.  Yes, the practice of NFP is safe and healthy; yes, it is very helpful for achieving pregnancy and highly effective for avoiding it; but the greatest benefit to the Catholic Church is that the right kind of NFP course can be an effective vehicle for conveying a very basic lesson in morality—do good and avoid evil. 

Do good by being generous in having children, looking upon them as gifts of the Lord, and bringing them up in the ways of the Lord.  Avoid evil by not engaging in the evil of contraceptive behaviors and the use of potentially abortifacient drugs and devices. 

Do good by appreciating the fact that the Holy Spirit guides the Church through its magisterium.  Avoid harm to your health by not using potentially harmful methods of birth control.  Avoid harm to your marriage by making sure that your marriage acts reflect the unreserved self-gift you vowed on your wedding day. 

John F. Kippley
Co-founder and current volunteer
NFP International

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