Pope Francis told young mothers gathered Sunday for the baptism of their infants not to be afraid to breastfeed their children during the ceremony because “the Lord wants it.”
The Christian calendar marks the first Sunday after January 6 as the feast of the “Baptism of the Lord,” commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, and the pope traditionally performs a number of baptisms on this day.
Commenting on the crying babies, the pope said in his brief homily that some of them must have been crying because they were hungry.
“To you mothers I say, if they cry because they are hungry, nurse them,” he said. “The Lord wants this.”
This was not the first time the pope offered this advice to nursing mothers.
On last year’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Pope Francis baptized 28 children in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, some of whom cried loudly during the ceremony.
“Since the ceremony is a little long, some of them cry because they are hungry,” he said.
“If this is the case, you mothers go ahead and breastfeed them, peacefully and without fear,” he said, “just as Mary nursed Jesus.”
Pope Francis has been a vocal advocate of breastfeeding in church and has often repeated that mothers should feel no shame in feeding their children in public.
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