I didn't have time to post over the weekend, but I thought I'd finish the week with a few thoughts. One of the most positive little extras about breastfeeding responsively is that it usually spaces babies very nicely, actually in over 90% of women. We often hear from the vocal exception, but statistics show that responsive breastfeeding is effective at staving off ovulation for at least the first 6 months (or whenever baby starts solids). It worked for 11 months with my first and 15 months with my second, and actually seems to stop working around the time baby starts sleeping through the night. This is one reason I'm not a fan of scheduling (besides the fact that I don't belive it's good for the baby). God has made us, as a rule, with a built-in baby spacing mechanism...One that won't work if we schedule baby's feedings or introduce solids too early.
For more complete information on this, check out Sheila Kippley's classic, Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing .
After the birth of my second, my OB told me as though he were revealing a great secret, "Breastfeeding will probably be a pretty effective method of birth control for the first few months anyway. Years ago when most women breastfed, their fertility typically didn't return for a year or longer. That spaced their babies and that's how they ended up with 8 or so kids." While I was encouraged that he recognized this biological truth (unlike some other doctors I've had), I was sad that such knowledge has been lost in our generation. I realize that not every family will choose to have many children, but no matter how many children we have, experiencing this breather before we have to be concerned with another pregnancy can reduce stress and give us time to focus on a sweet new baby.
Again, I guess God knew what he was doing when he created our bodies to function as they do. Surprise!