We are mammals and we breastfeed our young, which helps to distinguish us from other species. Breastfeeding has been around since the dawn of the human race. Natural family spacing is a wonderful byproduct of breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue breastfeeding while adding solids over the next one to two years, have children who are usually spaced two to three years apart.
To help make natural family spacing more reliable, the Roman Catholic Church developed the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method to assist couples looking for an alternative to modern-day birth control methods. Breastfeeding and Natural family planning allows couples to become independent from potentially harmful artificial methods that require long-term dependence on drugs, devices, physicians, or even government programs.
The history of natural family planning started in 1904 with the Basal body Temperature (BBT) method, and was perfected by Fr. Wilhelm Hillebrand in 1934. The BBT method projects ovulation time based on an increase in basal body temperature, which is typically between 96-98 degrees before ovulation. By the 1960's Drs. John & Evelyn Billings developed the Ovulation Method, which predicts time of ovulation based on presence or absence of cervical mucus.
Today the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a family planning method that offers a mother who is exclusively or almost exclusively breastfeeding more than 94% protection against pregnancy during the first six months after birth. Exclusive breastfeeding means the baby receives no liquids or solids other than mother's milk. Almost exclusive breastfeeding means the baby receives vitamins, minerals, water, juice or any other foods infrequently. Mothers and/or couples who choose to breastfeed are encouraged to investigate these alternative birth control methods when speaking with their health care providers.