In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I'm re-posting this story from last summer.
On a rare afternoon away from camp, our family was able to attend the baptism of the first child of new friends. The service began at the entrance to the Basilica, symbolic of Miss Zoe Abigail's entrance into the family of God. Every liturgical detail was meaningful, and we were thankful to be there in support.
After the priest baptized the baby, her parents dressed her in an ornamental white gown, a fitting symbol of new life in Christ. (Zoe's sweet name even means "life.") Anyone who's ever dressed a newborn knows how tricksy a maneuver it can be under the best of circumstances, which the day's decidedly weren't. The gown was no cotton onesie; it was about 90 degrees; and there was, of course, the matter of the assembled congregants pressed in closely to watch the sacrament. After being woken, doused with holy water, and clumsily dressed, predictably, the baby started to scream. Unpredictably, my friend put the babe to her breast without skipping a beat.
Here was a brand-new mom, who has only been nursing a few short weeks. All eyes were on her and her baby, yet she felt confident enough--at the baptismal font, no less!-- to put caring for her child ahead of worrying about whether the assembled congregants would approve. She gave her daughter exactly what she needed at that moment, and throughout the rest of the service--blessing, prayers, and even pictures--Zoe nursed contentedly and quietly, completely at peace.
Breastfeeding is a natural, nurturing, beautiful thing, designed by the One who spoke the universe into being and created us in his image. Cheers to not hiding it away in fear or shame, but celebrating, worshipping, and living a fully-embodied, God-honoring life, wherever we are.
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 46:15-16)