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Pope Francis encourages women to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Time.com, Brain, Mother, The Rumpus, Scary Mommy and Narratively, among others.

‘Go ahead and breastfeed without fear,’ says the pope

Pope Francis, our vote for "pope of popes," told mothers attending a service in the Sistine Chapel yesterday they should feel free to breastfeed their children during the ceremony if they needed to.

Indeed, our favorite pope encouraged breastfeeding in public. And not just in public, but in the Sistine Chapel. "No," say the offended, "not the Sistine Chapel! Not that sacred place with all the boobs, butts and penises on the ceiling!" Yes, that place.

At an event celebrating the baptism of Jesus, during which he baptized 28 children (which you know took more than a little bit of time), the pope said, "The ceremony is a little long; someone is crying because he's hungry. That's the way it is...You mothers, go ahead and breastfeed without fear. Just like the Virgin Mary nursed Jesus."

And this isn't the first time Pope Francis has come out in favor of public breastfeeding. In fact, at the same event two years ago, he also told mothers to "give your children milk" and asked those in attendance to remember that there are women who "unfortunately, can't give food to their children."

The "appropriateness" of breastfeeding in church is a subject of debate in the United States. In 2015, a mother in Indiana says she was asked to "cover up, go to the bathroom [or] nursery, or leave" when she started feeding her 7-month-old during services. Other women say that though they have never been asked to leave, they do experience what a USA Today article called, "a quiet disapproval." But now that we've got the pope, in the Sistine Chapel, asking women to please breastfeed their infants, hopefully more churchgoers will begin to accept that breastfeeding — even in church — is a natural, normal and acceptable practice.

And listen, if the pope says it's OK to breastfeed in church, then it should for sure be OK at a Denny's.

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