7. Natural Family Planning: Preparation for Marriage and What Couples have a Right to Know

6.  The many health benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mother.
There is no question: breast milk is the best nutrition for babies.  There is also no doubt that breast feeding is the best way for a baby to obtain this best nutrition.  Babies who are breastfed have significant health advantages.  For breastfed babies, our NFP manual lists reduced risks of contracting 21 specific diseases and conditions.   A second list describes six more general health benefits for babies and young children including a better immune system and scoring higher on cognitive and IQ tests at school age.  These lists are necessarily incomplete because every year new studies on breastfeeding are published.  Early each year my wife, Sheila, posts her review of the new studies at the NFPI blog site.

There is also no question that breastfeeding is also best for mothers.  The breastfeeding mother enjoys reduced risks of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, anemia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis (increased risk of a hip fracture).

Breastfeeding is an ecological, mutually helpful relationship.  Babies are born with weak immune systems.  If a baby gets some sort of illness or infection, it transmits it via suckling to its mother.  In turn, her intestines develop the antibodies to it, and those are then transmitted to the baby.  Her immune system makes up for the natural weakness of the baby’s immature immune system.  God really does know what He is doing.  This information is basic good-health instruction.  Every young person has a God-given right to know these gifts of God, and God’s Church should be in the forefront of teaching them in foreign missions as well as here in the States.  This can easily be taught in the right kind of course on natural family planning.

John F. Kippley
to be continued next week —

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