Principles of the Catholic Nursing Mothers League, Inc.
God the Creator has a plan for all men, women and children and this plan applies to every area of our lives. The Catholic Church's authoritative teaching helps us to know this plan. God's plan includes conception, childbirth and the nurturing of babies.
Breastfeeding is the natural continuation of the childbearing cycle which begins with conception, pregnancy and childbirth. As such, it forms an important part of God's plan for mothers and babies.
Breast milk is the best nourishment for babies, and the act of breastfeeding provides the best nurturing environment for both mothers and babies.
Breastfeeding is a special way in which a mother makes a sincere gift of herself to her baby. Breastfeeding is also a special way in which mothers are called to serve life in one of its most vulnerable stages. In the breastfeeding Madonna, Catholic mothers have a special exemplar.
Ecological breastfeeding - the form of mothering which tends to delay the return of fertility after the birth of a baby - benefits the nursing child
and enhances the
mother's health and well-being. Its natural child
spacing effect is a moral and healthy form
of natural birth regulation and should be supported and encouraged by families,
society and the Church.
Children deserve to be raised to appreciate the equality and complementarity of men and women in the context of lifelong marriage. Fathers offer essential spiritual and emotional support to their breastfeeding wives, and they provide for and protect the nursing couple. These early acts of service lay the groundwork for fathers' unique and irreplaceable role in their children's lives.Women have a right to be truthfully informed about the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves as well as for their babies. Families, parishes, communities, governments and society have a responsibility to protect and strengthen cultural support for breastfeeding practices.
Children need their mothers' presence, especially in the first three years of life. With or without breastfeeding, motherhood is an important and valuable way in which women live in accordance with their nature as persons created in God's image.