Pope Francis tells mothers to breastfeed their children in church

He told a gathering in Rome that Mary had also breastfed Jesus

Pope Francis tells mothers to breastfeed their children in church

Pope Francis celebrates an epiphany mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican | Image: Andrew Medichini AP/Press Association Images

Pope Francis has encouraged mothers attending mass in Rome to breastfeed their children in church.

He made the comment after babies began to cry during a baptism service in the Sistine Chapel.

The Pope suggested the children might be hungry and said mothers should feel free to breastfeed, according to Vatican Radio.

Pope Francis baptised 28 babies during the mass in the chapel.

He gave a short, off-the-cuff homily on the faith which is given to children in baptism.

He said faith does not just mean reciting the Creed on Sundays - but rather 'believing in the truth, trusting in God and teaching others with the example of our lives.'

As sounds of crying grew louder in the chapel, the Pope joked that 'the concert' had begun.

And he added that if children are crying because they are hungry, he told the mothers present to go ahead and feed them 'just as Mary breastfed Jesus'.

The Pontiff is set to visit Ireland in 2018.