Pope Francis emerged as a breastfeeding supporter, encouraging mothers to tend to their babies.
The pontiff told families who had brought their offspring to him for a special papal baptism that they should not stand on ceremony if the children were in need of food.
“If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice,” he said, smiling.
“Because they are the most important people here.”
On this occasion Pope Francis, 77, did not use the verb “breastfeed”. But he had already expressed an uncommonly down-to-earth approach to the practice in an interview with La Stampa last month. Recounting an encounter with a mother and her wailing newborn son at a general audience, he said he told her to feed him then and there.
“She was modest,” Pope Francis recalled.
“She didn’t want to breastfeed in public as the pope was going past.”