Any mother who has ever struggled to breastfeed in a public place will appreciate Pope Francis’s take on the matter: “You mothers, go ahead and breastfeed, without fear,” he said after several babies began crying during a ceremony at the Sistine Chapel on Sunday. “Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus.”
The pope was in the middle of baptizing 28 children when he heard the sounds of discontent. Recognizing that some women might think they needed to refrain from nursing in the holy place—or at least, be worried about exposing their breasts—he quickly eased their concerns, joking that “the concert has begun,” and that perhaps Jesus’s own first “homily” was his cries as a baby, the Associated Press reports.
“The ceremony is a little long, someone’s crying because he’s hungry. That’s the way it is,” he continued, according to Agence France-Presse. At least one woman took him up on the opportunity to feed her baby.
While this isn’t the first time Pope Francis has voiced his support for breastfeeding, it certainly solidifies his place as part of the “Normalize Breastfeeding” movement. During the same ceremony last year, the pope made similar statements, and back in 2013, he recalled during an interview with Italy’s La Stampa how he had met a young woman who had been afraid to nurse in his presence.
“She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing,” he said. “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.” For women who still face judgment when breastfeeding in public and—sometimes especially—in church, this continued encouragement from the leader of the Catholic Church is everything.