The Blessing of Children

Lactation Amenorrhea, and Why it Works for Me

Lactation Amenorrhea is the “Physiologic suppression of menses while nursing” (Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing). Even though we’ve heard that it isn’t a dependable form of family planning, it does work as a God-given, God-designed, completely natural way of spacing children.

Now, I do not support the idea of artificially trying to limit the number of children we have or of artificially trying to space them. However, it is only natural for a woman to nurse her own infant, and as she does so, God has made it so that her own body’s hormones suppress ovulation. However, several conditions must be present for this to happen.

I nursed each of my first five children until they were about 1 year, 3 months (my sixth child is at this time only eight months, and I’m still nursing her). The only reason I usually stop around that point is because I’m pregnant by then, and it actually hurts to nurse. I also feel that nursing while growing a baby in my womb and experiencing nausea and vomiting depletes my body’s nutritional stores. So, I nurse for as long as I can, and rejoice that I am able to do so for as long as I do. While nursing each of those children, I had no menses for the entire first year. None. How did that happen? Was I trying to avoid menses on purpose through breastfeeding? No–it just worked out that way, as part of God’s design.

Here are the factors that I believe worked in my favor:

  • I put my baby to the breast almost immediately after birth.
  • I nursed frequently. By this, I don’t mean every two to three hours; I mean every hour to hour-and-a-half. I myself don’t go for two to three hours without drinking some water at least, so why should a tiny baby have to go for that long without milk?
  • Even as my baby grew older, I still maintained frequent feedings.
  • I nursed on demand; that is, whenever my baby was hungry.
  • Even when my baby didn’t “demand” to be fed, I still offered anyway. I think just the act of putting the baby to the breast stimulates hormones and helps the woman to maintain a rich milk supply.
  • I slept with my baby at night; and while still very young, at nap time, too. I don’t worry about SIDS and that sort of thing. I make sure my baby is doing fine by checking on him/her at various times throughout the night. I think we both sleep better this way: the baby is secure next to his/her mommy, and I am confident that my baby is okay.
  • I delayed feeding solid foods and other liquids until sometime between six months and a year.
  • I cuddled and snuggled with my baby a lot, even when not feeding him/her.

I’ve noticed the same pattern of lactation amenorrhea for about a year with every baby; it’s been a very consistent pattern, causing me to conclude that this must be the way God wanted the mother’s body to function. For those ladies who have not had the same experience, I would suggest they re-examine their breastfeeding style. Perhaps there were some things they could have been doing that would have helped prolong their lactation amenorrhea. Maybe, maybe not, but it’s worth looking into. At this time, my youngest is eight months, and my periods have still not returned!

This is another reason why a mother should stay at home full time with her children and nurse each of her babies frequently and for as long as she is able: God clearly designed the woman to be with her infant all the time, since when she is, she not only does what is best for her baby, she acts in a way that helps her own body out, as well.

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16 thoughts on “Lactation Amenorrhea, and Why it Works for Me

  1. Great post! I’ve had the same experience. My cycles have returned at 11, 11, 16, and 16 months postpartum. I practice the same components of lactational amenorrhea that you mention.

    When we took our Catholic NFP class, they call this method “ecological breastfeeding,” and when you follow the guidelines (breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, no artificial nipples), they say that you can guarantee a minimum of six months of amenorrhea.

    Good stuff! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Diana!
      It’s interesting to note how your experience mostly parallels my own. By now, I’ve heard from various women with basically the same story (suppression of menses while nursing), including my own sister, and it makes me wonder, why don’t more people know about this–this is great!
      It isn’t necessary to use birth control to space children; all we have to do is live according to God’s design, and the spacing happens on its own (the majority of the time–I realize women have varying experiences).
      Glad you liked this post!
      Jessica

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    1. Glad you found it interesting, Celina!
      To find out more, Nancy Campbell authored a book on this subject. If you look on her site (in my sidebar: Above Rubies), you should find it there. I haven’t read it myself, but it looks like a good book; I have read her testimony on this subject which she wrote in an article you can also find on her site.
      Jessica

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  2. I was born in a family of 4 boys! My mother wanted a girl but never had one! Was very disapointed! Also in my childhood, it was boys/boys/boys/boys & more boys! It was fun as a kid but when adolesence comes calling, being in an enviroment like 80% male & 20% female is no fun! My neighborhood was boys, boys, boys & the girls were either like ten years older or elemmentary school age when you are in high school! Church youth enviroments like ts Like in China since most abortions have been girls since 1978 & 90-100 million young Chinese men with no women to marry! However in the black community all girl or one boy & the rest all girls types of families & when I have brought this up with black folk, they say, they have noticed that! Also all girl & women churches in the black community & youth groups that are “all girl”! I myself have seen two black churches that were all girl/woman, even the whole ministry was all female! In a Cathloc school & an eventual Christian school robbed me of many boy/girl relationships! Besides this does not bring out the best in the girls! In this cathloc school was an eighth grade situation of 65 boys & 5 girls!

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  3. The practice you mention will also provide loosing the baby pounds with most women. Of course only if a wholesome diet is onserved . Gods design is truly thuoght trough wonderfully

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  4. I have never been a very successful breast feeder my beast being six months and thought I agree 100 % that this is yet another reason why mothers should stay home try as I might it hasn’t really worked.

    My SIL is currently pregnant with her third whilst still feeling her 7 month old and even occasionally an older child which I think is actually really wonderful IF it works for your body

    What I can say is I have fallen pregnant twice without any full menstruation so – as always we have to accept that God is in charge.

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    1. Yes, I completely agree, Susanne!
      Thank you for sharing your testimony.
      So yes, women can have varying experiences, and whether we have lactation amenorrhea for a year or only six months (or less, though it seems to me that would be rare if the woman is following all the guidelines I mentioned), we must submit to God’s plan, and recognize that He is in charge, and will work out everything for our good, not matter how much of a trial it is at the moment! Thanks for adding that.
      Jessica

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  5. I think the point is to make the point that a wife’s first priority is to her husband and children. We should do whatever is best for our baby, not seek to follow a personal career ambition and our bodies and our fertility should be as God designed us not as society increasingly teaches.

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