Archive for the ‘First 3 Years’ Category

Mother and Baby Are One Biological Unit

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Probably the most important part of the biological oneness between mother and baby is their ecological relationship: what affects one affects the other. We see this in the many health benefits for both. By health benefits, I am including the emotional health benefits 7as well as the physical health benefits.

If breastfeeding is shortened and the mother stops nursing during the early weeks or months, then both she and baby lose the many benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization said it well: “Mothers and babies form an inseparable biological and social unit; the health and nutrition of one group cannot be divorced from the health and nutrition of the other.”

In addition, quite often the mother soon loses that physical intimate contact with her growing baby when she bottlefeeds. Rare is the mother who holds her baby during the early years when bottlefeeding. Rare is the mother who insists on doing the bottlefeeding herself and who takes her baby with her, but sometimes it happens. The first couple John and I knew who took their baby with them to college faculty parties were bottlefeeding. I admired them because they gave us support for what we were doing with our breastfed baby.
Breast milk or Mother
The value of breastfeeding is heavily emphasized today. Because so many mothers work, much attention is given to pumping milk at work and storing breast milk. This is good, but what gets lost is the mother-baby biological oneness. You can’t give a talk today without someone asking, “What about the working mother?” While there are many mothers who have to work for the basic necessities and who would prefer being home with their baby, there are also many mothers who could stay home and choose not to do so. The pressure today is for those latter mothers to leave their babies and little ones and earn money or follow their career.
But babies do need their mothers. The continuous contact with mom during the early years is the first step towards building a good foundation for life and future relationships. God provides for this essential foundation through the presence of the mother. How does He do
this? With breastfeeding. The breastfeeding relationship ensures that the mother will remain with her baby. As Maria Montessori stressed years ago, prolonged lactation of 1.5 to 3 years is good for the baby because it keeps the mother with her baby.
Sheila Kippley

Natural Family Planning: The Importance of the Mother to the Baby

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

One of the benefits of God’s plan for spacing babies with the right kind of breastfeeding is that the breastfeeding relationship keeps the mother with her baby.  I’d like to share some thoughts on this by Saint John Paul II.

On Human Work: 1981
“To take up paid work outside the home is wrong from the point of view of the good of society and of the family when it contradicts or hinders these primary goals of the mission of a mother.”
“Mothers have an irreplaceable role.”

Address to “Women, Wives, and Mothers,” Familia et Vita, January 1995.
“Women can never be replaced in  begetting and rearing children…  Women as mothers have an irreplaceable role.”
“The children also have a right to the care and concern of those who have begotten them, their mothers in particular.”

The Gospel of Life: 1995
Sincere gift of self by the mother: “daily heroism”  “brave mothers”  “heroic mothers” (86)
Baby: “Every human being” is “an icon of Jesus Christ.” (84)
“The family is the sanctuary of life.” (6, 11, 59, 88, 91, 92, 94)

May 12, 1995 address to scientists at Vatican breastfeeding conference.
“No one can substitute for the mother in this natural activity.”
“This natural activity benefits the child and helps to create the closeness and maternal bonding so necessary for healthy child development….So vital is this interaction between mother and child that my predecessor Pope Pius XII urged Catholic mothers, if at all possible, to nourish their children themselves (Oct. 26, 1941).”

Sheila:  God’s plan for spacing babies has many benefits.  Not only the spacing but also health and emotional benefits for both mother and child.  Let’s pray that our government and our Church with its Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, and teachers will promote ecological breastfeeding because of these many benefits.

Sheila Kippley



The First Three Years

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

This blog contains quotes from Sister Maria Corazon Cruz Gonzales’ Master thesis on “Caring for and educating a child from conception to three years old” (Rome 1994). We met this Filipino nun at a family congress in Rome in 1994 and she sent us her work on conception through the first three years of life.

“Researchers observe that breastfeeding provides enhanced protection against many infectious diseases.  It is also this essence of mothering which is the most important means of immunizing the baby against the greatest of emotional hazards….anxiety.”

“Each newborn infant carries within himself life’s greatest promise: a new hope for the world.  For each tiny baby has the potential to love and be loved, to value himself yet care for others, to develop his unique abilities and talents and one day become a human being who can help change the world—-for the better!”

“Love prevails as the vehicle in the development of the child’s sense of trust in others and in himself, an essential in the growth process to produce emotionally stable individuals.”

“The power of love is so strong in the early years of a child’s life that it can make sick babies well, as its absence can make well babies sick.”

“Good early Mothering makes a man or woman capable of deep and enduring relationship.  Our enjoyment in caressing and being caressed, in holding and being held, in the sensuous delights of our own and each other’s bodies, all have their roots in these earliest love experiences.” (her emphasis)

“Raising children can be considered a genuine apostolate.”

“The Pope considers the family as the ‘first seminary where the faith is nourished and priestly religious and missionary vocations have their origin.’ ”

“It is common knowledge that it is difficult for a young child to grow up physically healthy and emotionally stable when his parents are too preoccupied to parent.  Today’s buzz word in mental health is ‘bonding.’  No less than the Holy Father, doctors and psychologists have unequivocally said that it is extremely necessary for parents to bond with their children from the moment of conception.  But the truth is: that a child cannot bond with a moving target.  He can’t become attached to someone who is not there, or is only occasionally there.  Parents who are preoccupied with their jobs, themselves, or their problems are not available to their children.”

“There is nothing on this earth that can match the excitement and joy of creating and nurturing a child from the moment he is conceived to his journey into adulthood.  There are moments when parents see their child’s first smile, or first step, or hear him utter his first word, and a lump sticks in their throat, and their hearts expand until they are ready to explode.  They do not give Nobel prizes for Parenting, but if it is done right, they should!”

Sheila Kippley
The Crucial First Three Years