The term is brand new to me, but it turns out I already practice ecological breastfeeding!
I came across it in my search for an acceptable birth control method. Ecological breastfeeding is free, comfortable, and natural–it fits all my criteria!
Wikipedia reports that it has a 1% failure rate in the first six months of a baby’s life, and only 6% failure rate after that until the woman’s period returns. Pretty good rates for something I was doing anyway.
According to Wikipedia:
- Breastfeeding must be the infant’s only source of nutrition – no formula, no pumping, and (if the infant is less than six months old) no solids or water at all.
- The infant must be pacified at the breast, not with pacifiers or bottles or by placing a finger in the mouth.
- The infant must be breastfed frequently. The standards for LAM (lactational amenorrhea method) are a bare minimum; greater frequency is better. Sucking should include non-nutritive sucking when the infant cues the mother, not just breastfeeding as a means of nutrition. Scheduling of feedings is incompatible with LAM.
- Mothers must practice safe co-sleeping as it is the proximity of the child to the mother that increases prolactin.
- Mothers must not be separated from their infants. This includes substitutes for mother such as babysitters and even strollers or anything else that comes between mother and physical contact with her child. Babywearing (using cloth carriers) means tactile stimulation between mother and child and increases access to the breast. Any separation from the mother will decrease the efficacy of ecological breast feeding.
- Mothers must take daily naps with their infants.
- A mother must not have had a period after 56 days post-partum (bleeding prior to 56 days post-partum can be ignored).
I don’t nap with Annabelle (I would if I didn’t have a five year old to keep up with) but she does nap on me, and I assume it is the proximity, not the sleep, which contributes to the effectiveness of ecological birth control.
And so I have discovered another benefit to the family of babywearing: it contributes to convenient spacing of babies and helps avoid the use of dangerous or inconvenient birth control methods!
Does it seem to anyone else that so many “modern conveniences” (strollers, pacifiers, cribs, and bottles) end up being more of an inconvenience than anything else?