Over the past 11 years I have read many on Breastfeeding & Fertility Signs in attempts to have a good split between being pregnant to give myself a break to recover from the tough pregnancies with nausea, vomiting, back issues and then nursing. Out of the numerous books that cover this issue, these two books are the two I have found most profound & would recommend to any first time mom as well as seasoned mother.
by Merryl Winstein
$13.45 on Amazon
This book is not a Christian book- disclaimer
It is very educational though… how our bodies work, explaining cycles & signals. How to read your fertility signs; the mucus signal, basal temperature signal, and your energy/mood signals. The book teaches on how stress effects ovulation, menopause, infertility and more.
I think every woman should read this book to understand more about how our creator made our bodies and how to read them. Understanding your sexual organs & fertility signals and how they function is key to family planning and understanding our own woman’s health. This book can be empowering for women. If you have thyroid issues (which makes your basal temperature hard to chart) and are nursing with no “signals” I have not found any way of telling when or if you are ovulating. According to the following book I suggest… if you allow the baby to suckle enough your body will secrete enough progesterone that you won’t ovulate. So just keep nursing with no supplements to prevent conception.
by Jenny Silliman
$10 @ Above Rubies Bookstore
I just came across this book this summer and finished when Ethan was about 3 weeks old. What an encouragement for a mother no matter how many children she has.
This is a Christian author who encourages women as they give their fertility to the Lord, whether for a season or their lifetime.
The method she encourages is called Responsive Breastfeeding, which is similar to On Demand Feeding and opposes schedule feeding (known primarily from the book “Baby Wise”).
As I read this book it really spoke to my heart bc I related to it as I have mainly “demand fed” most of my children. For me it was instinctual to demand feed. I tried to do the “Baby Wise” program that was so encouraged by women in the Christian community, but it broke my heart to let a baby cry and nearly hyperventilate all in the name of “training them to a schedule.” I know many women who have done baby wise and their babies thrived! But for my household, it didn’t feel right. I am a fairly schedule oriented person, generally speaking… we eat around the same time everyday for every meal… my kids take naps the same time every day… and yes even demand feeding allows you to get on some kind of regular schedule with naps. All my kids are “religious” with their naps and have always been. It is a “sacred” time for mommy as well. We all need a little quiet time/ rest time/ nap time!
This book made me feel more confident in following my instincts when it comes to mothering a newborn. You could label me a closet responsive breast feeder. While many moms I knew where doing baby wise, I was demand feeding through the night, through out the day. Yes, I was tired, but my milk would let down just before the baby awoke so it seemed natural to feed them. My body was in sinc with my baby and I didn’t like the idea of a baby crying for hours, which would mean no sleep for mama anyway.
For a simple book review, Jenny encourages responsive (demand) breastfeeding in order to prevent ovulation. Now I know what you are thinking, Angie you are a perfect example of how breastfeeding isn’t good birth control. However, I am actually the perfect example. In this book, Jenny says that the main difference between responsive breastfeeding and demand is that you don’t just feed the baby whenever they cry, you know your baby and study your baby’s cries and then soothe them by massage, diaper changing, burping, attention, cuddling, and nursing. However, you do not supplement the nipple with anything else…ever. No pacifiers, no bottles, no rice cereal before teeth.
Letting the baby suck even for comfort when there tummy hurts or if they are teething is good because every time the baby nurses it releases the hormone progesterone which prevents ovulation. Premature ovulation can occur when the baby is not suckling enough. This happened to me only once. With my second I tried using the Baby Wise schedule, the idea of having them sleep through the night early was so tempting. So I succumbed and gave Austin a pacifier and he slept through the night. Subsequently, I got pregnant with Megan just before Austin turned 9 months old, so they are 18 months apart. Austin was the only one of our children who had a pacifier and we weaned him at 16 months before baby sister came along. That was a challenge. Of all my children he is the only one who grinds his teeth , which he learned from biting and chewing on the pacifier. He is also the only one so far with an under bite (I don’t know if the 2 are related…the orthodontist says probably so). In addition he was my most emotionally needy child…I believe because I failed to responsive breastfeed. I put him on a schedule, supplemented formula at night to get him to sleep, and gave him a pacifier. I have had to deal with the remorse of failing him in that way. I have also had to be very purposeful about building his self esteem over the years because he seemed less confident and timid. He is becoming such a confident, strong young boy now, but it has been years of purposefully trying to build up his self esteem.
We tried a pacifier with Megan, but she only took it for a couple weeks. I had decided I didn’t want to go down that same road as Austin. Megan and Drew are 20 months apart and that is probably also because I had to wean her at 11 months old so I could have an urgent surgery. Austin and Kelsey are 33 months apart, Drew and Luke are 25 months apart, and Luke and Ethan are 25 months apart which is all really good spacing. When I read this book it made so much sense because my personal experience fit perfectly with all I read.
Now I understand that many women have many different experiences, after all God has a different journey for each of us. My personal story is just one that is completely free from hormones. I have not taken any birth control other than for a month at the beginning of my marriage. When I immediately had side effects I went off, and God started our family. Since then I have learned about the dangers of Birth Control. My favorite resource on this topic is:
This is $3.00 @ Eternal Perspective Ministries
More on Breastfeeding & Fertility:
“Responsive Breastfeeding is really training for Responsive Mothering!”
The richest part of this book was the study of Isaiah 66:10-13
“That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations: that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the Gentiles like a flowering stream: then ye shall suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Did you notice the words satisfy, console, delight, comfort?
“We see here that nursing is not just an alternative way to feed a baby, eg bottle feeding vs breastfeeding. It is total mothering to meet the every need of the child. The breast is used, not just to satisfy hunger, but also to satisfy, delight, console, and comfort. When a mother nurses this way she will nurse many times a day and during the night. This amount of suckling will hold back ovulation and therefor she will not conceive…The average menstruation of these mothers is 14.6 months, which means they would have their babies about 2 years apart. In Hosea 1:8 it tells us that after Gomer weaned she conceived and bore a son.” p.50
Breastfeeding in this way will nourish the baby, but also comfort, console, delight and satisfy the baby.
I was so richly encouraged and feel there is a huge population of women who need to feel it is ok to instinctually breastfeed and instinctually mother. There are two philosophies to scheduled breastfeeding.
Here they are:
1) Babies are sinful from the moment they are born(true)… they are demanding and if they had it their way they would always nurse… a families schedule shouldn’t revolve around a baby’s nursing demands. The baby shouldn’t rule the home… that will make for a terrible toddler and a selfishly indulgent child- adult. Put them on a schedule, so you can keep your life predictable.
2)Yes, babies are sinful, but the only way they have to communicate is through crying and fussing. God gave mothers the job of nurturing and created our bodies to be able to meet there needs. Breastfeeding is for nourishment, comfort, satisfying the babe, protection, delight, & consoling. Scheduling a baby teaches the baby the world says schedules are more important than needs (for comfort as well as food). Here we are in a society consumed with schedules and business.