Originally Posted by reborn
Thanks, JMJ! THat makes me feel better. I've been scouring the information in that wiki-- very helpful!
One question about ecological breastfeeding: one of the requirements is no artificial nipples, including pacifiers. My son has had a sucking ADDICTION (lol) since day 1 and I have milk oversupply. If I let him, he would suck almost nonstop until he has a colossal barf or gets a stomach ache and fusses. He would nurse, and start thrashing and fussing and looking miserable, but keep nursing! So I've decided to use a pacifier. I always offer him the breast first when he is rooting but once he starts to seem distracted and lazy I'll take him off. If he keeps rooting I give him the pacifier. Would this still interfere with the efficacy of EB? Even with the paci he's still probably nursing no less than every 2 hours, except at night when he might go as long as 4 hours between feedings.
Most babies have a sucking addiction. In one of the cultures the Sheila Kippley cites in her books, babies were nursed on average about every 15 minutes. (This same culture goes on to get over 4 year birth spacing, much more than what we would expect out of eco BFing in our culture.) The frequent and unrestricted sucking at the breast is what makes ecological breastfeeding space children. With what you are doing with nursing and a pacifier, it sounds like you are certainly meeting his needs for food at the breast, but with an oversupply, he is spending less time sucking at the breast to get that food. It is not the amount of milk that comes out of your breasts that spaces babies. It is the amount and frequency of sucking. It sounds like you are using the pacifier in a way that is very protective of breastfeeding, but because the child spacing effect of ecological breastfeeding is so dependent on that comfort sucking happening at the breast, I would expect the use of the pacifier to cause an earlier return to fertility. How much earlier? I can't say, but the longer the pacifier is used, the more likely it is to affect your fertility.
Oversupply is another issue that does need to be dealt with, and in my experience, it makes ecological breastfeeding difficult. In my case, my daughter would be comfort sucking, and I would have another letdown, and it would startle her and make her stop nursing. Things got easier when my milk supply was finally regulating around 5 months, but I had some spotting at about 4 months, and I think a large part of that was because of my oversupply/overactive letdown issues that kept her from wanting to comfort suck at my breasts. I was not using a pacifier at all, and even with that, I wasn't able to use LAM for 6 whole months. Things did get easier, and I ended up not having my first PPAF until DD was almost 21 months old, but I really think that if I had not worked it out to get my daughter to comfort suck at my breasts, I would not have made nearly that long. What really helped me was block feeding. The child is allowed to comfort nurse on the breast that is mostly empty, allowing him to get his sucking in at the breast. I would visit the breastfeeding forums or talk to a LLL leader for more advice on how to handle dealing with an oversupply.
More important than using breastfeeding to space your children, though, is meeting your child's needs. If there is something about your situation that makes it so that you can meet your child's needs best in a way that is no exactly ecological breastfeeding (for example, eco-BFing would be impractical for a working mother), do what you think is best and understand that your results may vary. I think it is practical for a woman who is using breastfeeding to space her children but has a reason to not get pregnant again quite yet to keep an eye out for CM to be able to predict her return to fertility whenever it does come. These BFing methods of spacing children are statistically very effective, but there is a huge range of actual results.