Pope Francis encouraged mothers to breast-feed their children as they wished on Sunday while he baptized 33 infants in the Sistine Chapel.
“You mothers give your children milk and even now, if they cry because they are hungry, breast-feed them, don’t worry,” he said, which was a departure from his prepared text, NBC reported.
Pope Francis previously expressed his support of public breast-feeding in December 2013 during an interview with La Stampa, in which he said:
There was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. 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 breast-feed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: Give people something to eat!
The Pope’s view on breast-feeding is a big win for those championing the right to breast-feed in public, which isn’t always met with support. In the U.S., for example, while most states permit public breast-feeding, many mothers have been asked to step into a restroom or to cover up. Several controversies have also arisen when public breast-feeding is depicted in the media.