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The fact that women are shamed for breastfeeding in public is no secret. It's a stigma that several women in power have fought to normalize, despite the fact that it's totally natural and healthy for the baby. Now, Pope Francis himself is saying that women should absolutely feel comfortable feeding their infants in public, even in some of the spaces most sacred to Catholicism—including the Sistine Chapel.
This past weekend, Pope Francis performed baptisms for children of Vatican employees and the diocese of Rome. Before the process, he provided a short sermon in Italian, explaining how each family uses different and unique languages to communicate. "Babies have their own dialect," he added, according to Vatican News. "If one starts to cry, the others will follow, like in an orchestra," he continued.
At the end of the sermon, he urged parents not to hesitate to feed their babies. "If they start doing the 'concert,' it's because they're not comfortable," he said according to CNN. "Either they're too hot, or they're not comfortable, or they're hungry. If they're hungry, breastfeed them, without fear, feed them, because that's a language of love."
This isn't the first time the Pope has shown his support for women breastfeeding in public. During a similar baptism ceremony two years ago at the Sistine Chapel, he urged mothers to feel free to breastfeed their children if they cried or were hungry.
"The written text of his homily during that ceremony included the phrase 'give them milk,' but he changed it to use the Italian term 'allattateli' which means 'breastfeed them,'" the Washington Post reports. "You mothers give your children milk and even now, if they cry because they are hungry, breastfeed them, don't worry," he said.