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Pope Francis encourages public breastfeeding

The Pope blesses a baby in Vatican City
The Pope blesses a baby in Vatican City
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Public breastfeeding gained a new spokesman this week -- Pope Francis.

In an interview with Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, the Pope compared breastfeeding in public with feeding the world's hungry and talked of urging one mother to nurse her crying baby.

In the interview, titled "Never be afraid of tenderness," the Pope said:

At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few month s 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 breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone.

Pope Francis seems very comfortable with breastfeeding that takes place in his vicinity. Indeed in this beautiful picture, he is seen kissing one baby while another breastfeeds just inches from his face.

Breastfeeding advocates and nursing mothers around the world embraced the Pope's words and actions. As one Minnesota man commented on Facebook, "Bless this Pope, for He leads with his heart as well as his head."

See also:

Vatican calls for more artwork showing Mary breastfeeding Jesus

and

Great works of art showing Mary breastfeeding Jesus

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