Pope Francis has once again proven that he is the “People’s Pope” after telling mothers of newly baptized children to breastfeed their babies at the Sistine Chapel if the need arises.
The 266th Pope of the Catholic Church has made yet another statement that differentiates him from his predecessors as he urged mothers of 34 infants, including a pair of twins, to provide their children with breastmilk even while inside the sacred place, Reuters reported on Sunday.
According to the outlet, the pope baptized 18 girls and 16 boys in a lengthy ceremony that lasted over two hours and expressed his support for breastfeeding during a short and improvised homily.
“If they start performing a concert (by crying), or if they are uncomfortable or too warm or don’t feel at ease or are hungry… breastfeed them, don’t be afraid, feed them, because this too is the language of love.”
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis explained to mothers to “transmit the faith” in a language that their children would understand.
“Babies have their own dialect. If one starts to cry the others will follow, like in an orchestra.”
His statement on Sunday during the annual baptism ceremony held at the Sistine Chapel is a breath of fresh air for women who are still shamed for breastfeeding their babies in public. In fact, a report from Quartz revealed how even other women are grossed out when seeing mothers exposing their breasts while nursing their infants.
“Eleven years ago on a plane, a flight attendant asked me to go [nurse] in the restroom. I was in the window seat and didn’t even think anyone could see me,” mother-of-two Gabrielle Zucker Acevedo told the outlet.
“She said that I would be more comfortable in the restroom. I said no.”
Jennifer Leiman had a similar experience while shopping, recalling how she got “glares from older women” for nursing her baby boy in a Target.
According to Quartz, women’s breasts, which are supposedly made for nourishing babies, have become synonymous with “sex” in American culture and may have become an eye sore for other women for two reasons: disbelief that mothers utilize their breasts for anything other than sex and concern that men might feel the urge to gaze at the exposed boobs.
Fortunately, Pope Francis supports women who breastfeed when needed — even in public places — as he repeatedly said so at least five times, according to a report from Jezebel.
I love it that Pope Francis is using his gravitas to promote breastfeeding in public. Way to go, Holy Father!!!! https://t.co/1zTWhOpSXe— Nancy Mohrbacher (@BFReporter) January 7, 2018
The pope first expressed his support for public breastfeeding in 2013 where he used it as analogy for feeding humanity and have made a similar statement in separate occasions since.
Interestingly, NPR noted that others from the Catholic Church traditionally do not support breastfeeding as there were several instances that women have been forced to breastfeed in the back pew or even whisked away by security personnel for trying to nurse hungry babies.
“Countless other Christian women, trying to feed their children without having to miss a sermon, have faced the disapproval of others who think breasts have no place in the sanctuary,” Christianity Today correspondent Rachel Marie Stone wrote in 2012.