Pope Francis brought up breastfeeding in an interview published on December 14, and like usual, he did not disappoint.
Q: Speaking of children’s suffering, we can’t forget the tragedy of those who are suffering from hunger
“With all the food that is left over and thrown away we could feed so many. If we were able to stop wasting and start recycling food, world hunger would diminish greatly. I was struck by one statistic, which says ten thousand children die of hunger each day across the world. There are so many children that cry because they are hungry.
At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old.
The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it.
I said to her: madam, I think the child’s hungry.
“Yes, it’s probably time…” she replied.
“Please give it something to eat!” I said.
She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing.
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.
If we work with humanitarian organisations and are able to agree all together not to waste food, sending it instead to those who need it, we could do so much to help solve the problem of hunger in the world. I would like to repeat to humanity what I said to that mother: give food to those who are hungry! May the hope and tenderness of the Christmas of the Lord shake off our indifference.”
What was so striking to me, was that he brought up the subject of breastfeeding on his own. The question was about hunger, and he seamlessly managed to incorporate a brilliant response about how we have the means to provide for those who are hungry, but we don’t, while adding in the example of a breastfeeding mother who opts out of feeding her child in public (specifically in front of the Pope).
It could even be argued that Pope Francis is purposely making a case in favor of public breastfeeding to compliment his call to action to address global hunger and nutrition issues.