Sample Pages from Catholic Stories from Science for Little Folks by Nancy Nicholson


Falling Stars 3
Lightning! 5
Feeding Baby Plants 7
Freezing and Solids 11
Nerves and Your Sense of Touch 14
Eyes to See 18
How to Dress a Duck 21
Our Hearts and Theirs 25
Spit! 29
God's Building Blocks 33
Invisible Marks 37
The Salt of the Earth 41
He Will Dry Every Tear 45
Light from Light 49
Before You Were Bom 53
Baby Food 57
Dominion Over the Earth 61
Power in Weakness 65
Traveling Seeds 69
Ears to Hear 73
Coloring Adam and Eve 77
Run for Your Life! 81
Precious Blood 85
Answer Key 89
Key to Pronunciations 92
Sources 94

Baby Food

Do you have special birthday customs at your house? At our house, the 'Birthday Child' gets to pick whatever she' d like for dinner. Sometimes our menus look like this: hot corn on the cob, fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy, crispy chicken and chocolate ice cream. Does that sound good to you? If it is a good 'birth-day' meal, would it be a good meal for a baby which had just been born? No, a little baby could not eat that meal, because its tiny body needs only one thing--milk!

God's perfect food for babies is milk from their mothers! When a mother nurses, or feeds her baby from her breast, she is giving it the best food possible. Mother's milk not only makes her child grow big and strong, but helps keep the baby healthy, too. That is because there is a special ingredient in the milk called antibodies. Antibodies are disease-fighters which give the baby extra protection against germs.

Most people think that, when a mother nurses her baby, it is just good for the baby. But Our Lord, in His always perfect plans, made nursing benefit the mother, too. Women who nurse their babies have more protection against some types of cancer. A nursing mother also recovers more quickly from childbirth. Isn't God good to think of everything?

Most babies spend a full nine months in the womb before they are 'finished growing' and ready to be born. Sometimes, however, babies can be born too early, at eight or seven or six months of pregnancy. You already know a little bit about how a baby lives before it is born. Long before it is born, it is practicing breathing, and sucking and all of its little body is working at growing. However, not every part of the baby is mature, or ready to work on its own. Even a healthy newborn is not mature enough to take care of all its own needs; it has to have a Mom and Dad to feed it and care for it.

A baby born prematurely [before it is mature] is called a premature infant, or 'preemie'. These babies did not have time to finish maturing before they were born. Their tummies were not quite ready for food, and their lungs weren't quite ready to do the work of breathing. What would happen if you could not eat or breathe properly? You would be very sick, wouldn't you? That is the worry with preemies; if they cannot eat or breathe well, they can become very sick. But guess what--God has a special plan for preemies. In the past, doctors had a hard time making preemies well. But in the last several years, scientists have made many discoveries of God's special providence for His tiniest children. One of these discoveries is that, when a woman gives birth to a premature baby, her milk is different than it would be if the baby had been 'full-term " or in the womb for the full nine months!

Let's see if you can figure out how the mother's milk might be different. If a baby has trouble digesting its food and difficulty breathing, it would be pretty important to work at fixing those problems, wouldn't it? Well, that's just what Our Lord did. Scientists have discovered that women who give birth prematurely have milk that is even richer in 'growth factors', that speed up the maturing of the baby's lungs and digestive system.

The premature infant also needs a 'boost' to grow the strong bones and muscles that he would have developed within the womb. So God gave this specially designed mother's milk extra protein for muscles, calcium for bones and antibodies to fight germs! Finally, scientists have found that this special milk continues to be made in the mother's body for several weeks after the baby is born, to give the baby the extra help that it needs. How well Our Lord provides for us! For all His wondrous works, may Jesus Christ be forever praised!

"She of the King of Stars beloved,
stainless, undefiled,
Christ chose as His Mother-nurse,
to Him, the stainless Child;
Within her breast, as in a nest,
the Paraclete reposes,
Lily among fairest flowers,
Rose amid red roses."

from Hymn To the Virgin Mary, by Conal O'Riordan

I. What are the disease-fighters which give protection against genus called?

2. Look up calcium in the encyclopedia. Why do we need calcium in our diet? Which foods are rich in calcium ?

3. Look up protein in the encyclopedia. Why do we need protein in our diet? Which foods are rich in protein?

Excerpted from Catholic Stories from Science for Little Folks by Nancy Nicholson
1997, Catholic Heritage Curricula, Used with permission.