Archive for 2008

Breastfeeding and Scriptural Mothering

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

In Scripture breastfeeding is usually associated with a special kind of care, a human example of God’s loving care for his people.  We read of the nursing mother or of the child who is nursing or is weaned.  Mothering is mentioned several times in Scripture and is often associated with breastfeeding. 
   What follows are biblical references to breastfeeding and/or mothering1 that may be helpful and supportive to parents, especially mothers.  The Scripture quotes appear in the order they appear in Catholic bibles.

“And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast  on the day that Isaac was weaned” (Genesis 21:8).
Here we read for the first time in the Bible of a child being weaned.  Prolonged nursing of several years was common during Biblical times, and weaning was a cause for celebration of the child’s new stage in development.

Hannah:  “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear to the presence of the Lord, and abide there for ever.”
Elkanah, Hannah’s husband:  “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him
” (1 Samuel 1:22-23)
Breastfeeding keeps Hannah with her baby. Hannah’s household planned to travel to Shiloh to offer a yearly sacrifice at the house of the Lord.  Hannah excused herself because she was breastfeeding her child.  Her husband supported her in that decision.   Scripture then said:  “So the mother remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him.”  After the child weaned, she made the trip with her son, Samuel, and gave him to the Lord forever in the care of a priest and prophet.
    Many husbands today support the mother-baby oneness of breastfeeding, and for this their wives are most appreciative.  Hannah cared for her son during the early years of breastfeeding.  When the breastfeeding ended, she then gave her son to the Lord.
    When couples anticipate the conception of a new baby, they, like Hannah, can offer this child to the Lord and pray that the child grows up to do the will of the Lord.  At the time of weaning, the mother or the parents, like Hannah, can offer the child spiritually to the Lord and pray that the child will grow up in the ways of the Lord. 

“Thou didst keep me safe upon my mother’s breasts” (Psalms 22:9).
The psalmist describes breastfeeding as safe or protective.   A nursing baby or toddler often seeks security at his mother’s breasts when hurt or insecure or upset for some reason.   While this behavior is common among breastfed babies, it is also described in Scripture. 

“…like a child quieted at its mother’s breast” (Psalms 131:2).
Here comfort nursing is described perfectly!  One of the advantages of breastfeeding is that suckling has a quieting effect upon the child.  A nursing mother soon learns that nursing is an easy way to pacify her baby into a deep sleep or to comfort her baby. 

“Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isaiah 49:15)
The Sacred Author used the bond that develops with breastfeeding to illustrate the enduring bond of God to his people.

“…that you may suck and be satisfied with her consoling breasts” (Isaiah 66:11).
Comfort nursing is again described in Scripture.   “Consoling breasts” is a wonderful definition of the mothering that takes place at the breast.  Hunger satisfied, intimate closeness to mother, a wonderful answer to fatigue and the need for sleep, physical reassurance, pacification…many needs are fulfilled at the breast.

“…and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip, and dandled upon her knees” (Isaiah 66:12).
Here a mother has close physical contact with her nursing baby.  There is much holding and carrying of the baby by the mother.  The baby is described as being on the mother’s hip and being danced upon her knees.  Today this type of baby care is often called attachment parenting.  And it is described in Scripture!

1. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers for Ignatius Press, 1966.
Copyright 2006, Sheila Kippley

Next week:  Scriptural Mothering continues.

Sheila Kippley
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor, 2008
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing, 2008, classic edition
Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood, 2005

NFPI Advent Fund Appeal + $2 Book Sale

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Please read and consider helping us!
This year NFP International has provided—                                        

• Support for the NFP ministry in Slovakia.
• Free online NFP instruction.
• NFP class instruction in six states.
• Free brochures, charts, prayer and rosary booklets, and related NFP articles online.   
• Free NFP counseling.
• Weekly blogs on related NFP issues plus daily blogs during NFP Week in July and World Breastfeeding Week in August.

Our most time-consuming project in the last few months has been a revision of the online manual.  It will be more complete and slightly longer but still quite short and in the same readable question-answer format.  It may be ready for posting online in December will be published in a printed format shortly thereafter. 

When we started this apostolate in 2004, one of our goals was to offer a unique service of online self-instruction, either free or very low cost.  So far it’s been free.  We have really been gratified that without any marketing budget, the NFPI website is getting to be widely known and used.  The most popular “page” is Chapter 2 of our online manual.  The second most popular page is our web-blog.  Last year we had visits from 168 countries—and using 60 different languages—and 81% of those were new visits.  We know from thank-you notes that couples are using the manual for self-instruction, and we think that the new version will be even more helpful.

The NFPI apostolate remains unique.  To the best of our knowledge, it is the only American NFP effort that teaches ALL of the following:
1.  Ecological breastfeeding as a form of natural family planning.
2.  The covenant theology of human sexuality as an easy way to grasp the teaching of Humanae Vitae.
3.  Systematic NFP with different answers for different situations.
4.  The need for a sufficiently serious reason to use systematic NFP to postpone pregnancy.
5.  The immorality of using masturbation and sodomy during the fertile time as a form of “NFP.”

Another goal has been to make the NFPI website the “go-to” site for scientific and theological support for natural family planning.  We have a long way to go, but we have made progress.  The website is probably unique in its coverage of research dealing with breastfeeding and natural baby spacing.  Articles dealing with the sexual revolution and related matters will help students gain a perspective on the birth control culture wars. 

We have three goals for 2009. 
    1.  We need to increase our support for the NFP apostolate in Slovakia.  The cost of living there is increasing because Slovakia is going on the euro economy and because of general inflation.  This is true missionary work and we appreciate your help with it.

    2.  We need to develop further our online NFP education, and we need to develop a teacher training course.

    3.  John and I continue to work as volunteers for NFPI, and thus our operating costs to provide the online services have been minimal.  But we need financial support for the development of NFPI here in the States.

Please help NFPI to do more to help build a culture of life.  There will be no culture of life without stopping legalized abortion, and there will be no stopping abortion without a wide-spread rejection of contraception.  And that will happen only when there is a widespread acceptance of natural family planning.  And of course, that’s not going to happen without the widespread teaching of Humanae Vitae and the practical help of NFP instruction.  That’s what NFPI is doing, so every dollar you give to NFPI helps to build a culture of life, one step at a time.  We really need your help.

During the year we send out only three fund appeals t our donors: Lent, Fall and Advent.  That is all we have time for, and we do not want to bother our donors with frequent appeals.  We ask that you consider a generous donation this Advent season.  In appreciation, we will send you a free autographed copy of The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor upon request.  Because of a special discount on this book, your entire donation is still tax-deductible.

A major donor has offered to match the first $12,000 in gifts received during December.  Your generosity thus becomes doubly effective.

Checks can be made to: NFP International
                                       P. O. Box 11216
                                       Cincinnati OH 45211

May God continue to bless you and your loved ones during this Advent season.

In his service,

John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning International is a 501-c-3 organization.  All contributions are tax-deductible.

$2 BOOK SALE: Sophia is having a special $2 book sale through Dec. 12th.  Can you imagine buying Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood for $2?  We bought 25 books at that price!

Franciscan University honors Fr. Pacwa and Kippleys

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

STEUBENVILLE, OH—In response to sustained growth in student enrollment, Franciscan University of Steubenville will host its first-ever December commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 13, 2008.   This announcement was posted October 29, 2008.

Bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be awarded to the approximately 180 students who have qualified for graduation since May 2008.

Father Mitch Pacwa, SJEvents begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday with the Baccalaureate Mass in Finnegan Fieldhouse. The main celebrant and homilist will be Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, who will receive an honorary doctorate in Christian ethics.

Known to millions of television viewers as the host of EWTN Live and other programs on the EWTN television and radio networks, Father Pacwa works arduously to educate Catholics about their faith and teach people about the Scriptures. He is the founder of Ignatius Productions and has written books and produced videos on apologetics, the sacrament of confession, the New Age movement, the Holy Land, Eastern religions, and many other faith topics. He is often called upon to explain and defend the Catholic faith on the national media and speaks at over 30 Catholic conferences each year. Fluent in 12 languages, including Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Koine Greek, he has led over 50 pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

Immediately following Mass, the graduate and undergraduate commencement will take place in Finnegan Fieldhouse. The December 2008 graduating class of approximately 105 undergraduate and 70 graduate students will represent 30 states as well as Korea, Jamaica, and Canada. Theology, mental health, English, business, and biology are the top five majors of this graduating class.

During the ceremony, John and Sheila Kippley will receive honorary doctorates in Christian ethics for a lifetime of work teaching Natural Family Planning (NFP) and upholding sexual morality in marriage. John Kippley will deliver the commencement address.

John Kippley Married 45 years, the Kippleys began teaching Natural Family Planning in 1971, devoting much of their early efforts to countering negative stereotypes associated with NFP and becoming among the first lay advocates of Pope Paul VI’s prophetic 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

Since then the Kippleys have become some of the leading voices of the Natural Family Planning movement within the Catholic Church, receiving the endorsement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops along the way. To date, well Sheila Kippleyover 200,000 couples have attended NFP classes in the U.S. alone, and thousands of books, tapes, and newsletters on NFP have been distributed worldwide. In 2004 the Kippleys established Natural Family Planning International to continue their efforts to educate couples on the problems of birth control and the positive benefits of Natural Family Planning and breastfeeding.

Graduates will receive their degrees from Franciscan University president Father Terence Henry, TOR, with Father Christian Oravec, TOR, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and other University representatives presiding at the ceremony.

More information about December 2008 commencement activities is available online, and live streaming video of the day’s events will also be available on the University’s Web site beginning at 10:00 a.m.

© 2008 Franciscan University of Steubenville