Breastfeeding at the Sistine Chapel
MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis again encouraged mothers to breastfeed their children in church during the annual baptism ceremony at the Sistine Chapel

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January 08, 2018 11:35 AM

Pope Francis wants all women to feel comfortable breastfeeding in Catholic churches.

The Pope again encouraged mothers to nurse during an annual baptism ceremony at the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, saying that if babies are hungry they should be fed.

“Babies have their own dialect,” the 81-year-old pontiff said, according to NPR. “If one starts to cry the others will follow, like in an orchestra.” Pope Francis said that if babies are “starting a concert” of crying out of hunger, mothers should “go ahead and feed them,” because it’s a “language of love.”

He previously expressed his support for nursing mothers at last year’s ceremony, comparing the mothers and babies in attendance to the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.

“Since the ceremony is a little long, someone’s crying because he’s hungry,” the Pope said in Italian, after hearing a crying baby. “That’s the way it is. You mothers, go ahead and breastfeed, without fear. Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus.”

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His encouragement goes back to a 2013 interview, when Pope Francis spoke of a woman he had seen during one of his papal audiences at the Vatican.

“The child was crying its eyes out as I came past,” he said. “The mother was caressing it. I said to her: ‘Madam, I think the child’s hungry.’ ‘Yes, it s probably time,’ she replied. ‘Please give it something to eat!’ I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat!”

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