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.