In the past Partners in Health and Wholeness had a program dedicated to helping worshipping communities promote breastfeeding and support breastfeeding mothers. This week, the most prominent religious leader in the world, the Pope, took it a step further. In a homily during a baptism service in the Sistine Chapel, Pope Francis encouraged mothers to feed their babies if they cried, reminding those gathered that Mary would have breastfed Jesus when he was hungry.
As a breastfeeding mom and an advocate for health and wholeness, I am excited to see how this pronouncement from the Pope affects worshipping communities and breastfeeding mothers all over the world. This could be a moment that marks a major shift in perceptions of and acceptance of public breastfeeding.
While many today view breastfeeding as profane or sexualized, on Sunday the Pope made space for breastfeeding even in worship, validating the holiness of nourishing the littlest among us. I hope that his words help to eliminate stigma that remains about breastfeeding, and may we, too, recognize the power of the pulpit to impact change.
Click here to read more about the Pope’s statement. For ways your congregation can support breastfeeding mothers, see these resources and this statement about becoming a breastfeeding-friendly congregation.