Monday, January 13, 2014

Babies are Breastfed. Pope is Catholic. Water is Wet.

As the news travels around Facebook with people freaking out to put it lightly, we all find out that Pope Francis supports the breastfeeding of infants, even in public and during church services. This isn't the first time Papa Frankie has treated the normal act of breastfeeding as, well, normal.

Pope Francis during a newborn mass in Buenos Aires, March 24th 2005.
Photo source - Today's Spanish newspaper EL PAIS, Fotogalery titled 'Before becoming Francis.'
As he said on Sunday:

"Today the choir will sing but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry. If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here." (Reuters)

Our fourth child after his baptism

Don't get me wrong. For real. It's very exciting to have a public record to send to people who harass mothers about breastfeeding in public. I love hearing about it and I shared the story, too.

The newsfeed today is filled with: OH WOWZ! GUYZ, AMAZING! THE POPE SAID TO FEED BABEHZ IN CHURCH!  But, it's not surprising. It's not huge news. It's not amazing. This is what moms do for their babies day in and day out. It's normal. Basic. It doesn't warrant a double take or a gasp.

Think about this. I've been breastfeeding four children for over five years now, going to church 2-5 times a week, visiting numerous parishes for events or to be with friends and family. And I've breastfed at every single mass, without fail.

Yes, I've nursed a screaming toddler after he bumped his head on the pew. I've nursed newborns as they quietly thump-thumped their new little tongues. I've nursed at midnight mass, I've nursed at the early bird mass, I've nursed at the life teen noon mass, I've nursed at funeral masses and nuptial masses.

I've nursed where I sat, in the pew with my family and friends, quietly and unobtrusively, all these years and so have thousands of other moms. You could make a poem out of it. I've nursed here or there. I've nursed everywhere. In front of the tabernacle, in the cry room, in the back, in the front, on the side and during a wedding.

Thanks to breastfeeding, my children can be calm and happy at church. And I can find a few moments to meditate. I often think of Mary when sitting in a pew, child at the breast. I wonder how she felt, knowing she was holding the Son of God in her arms.

She was young and had an out of wedlock pregnancy, an unassisted birth in a cave and kings visited her child, proclaiming He was the King. If she could focus on mothering her son through that public pressure, I can surely comfort my children in church with patience and love.

See more breastfeeding photos here.

And you know what? Do you know how many times I've been mistreated in church? Twice. One time, a mom, dad and female teen gave me dirty looks then moved to another pew. Another time, an elderly lady approached me after church and yelled at me.

Do you know how many times I've been warmly welcomed? More than I can count. I've had priests smile warmly. I had one priest jokingly thank me for protecting his sermon (from crying). I've had a priest sit next to me and discuss TOB. I had a priest thank me for bringing back BFing in the church. I've had another priest tell me to never give up. I've had countless smiles, nods, waves and other small words of affirmation from church goers.

In a faith based on an unmarried teen mother bringing the savior into the world and latching him onto her breasts, who are we to ever send anything other than a smile towards a mom and her nursling?

Pope Francis is Catholic. And water is wet. I'm happy to hear about what happened, but I'm not surprised. Babies are breastfed after all.

(For another day: the overlooked discussion of welcoming babies in church, even when they are singing the song of their people!)

What next? Will we need Pope Francis to
protect mothers who hold their babies in church?
Related resources

God wants to breastfeed his people:

The Daily Catholic Crunch:

Catholics Against Circumcision:

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