Mary, who breast fed Jesus


I know the last time we had a thread like this it was closed because people couldn’t resist making it into a sexualized thread and shouting at each other over it. Let’s keep on track friends.

Here are some liturgical ways of vividly expressing the beauty of breast feeding.

Here is a prayer to the Theotokos: “Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Theotokos, and, O strange wonder, you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin!”

Here’s a famous icon:

Here’s an entire website on the subject

If St. Mary is our example then breast feeding is a holy activity.



Our Lady of La Leche Shrine, St. Augustine, FL:


The Shrine in St. Augustine is beautiful… I’ve been there several times…

IMO… we have to be careful not to transfer the holiness of Mary to a religious admiration for breastfeeding.

(Now, in NO WAY am I even considering “breast” in the sexual manner… I mean to refer to it entirely as a source of nourishment.)

I believe the beautiful prayer…

Here is a prayer to the Theotokos: “Without seed you gave birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, O Theotokos, and, O strange wonder, you nourished Him at your breast while remaining a virgin!”

discusses MARY’s SELF-GIVING to raise the SON OF GOD. Even to the point of remaining a virgin (ie, not experiencing the heavenly glories of the marrital act)… she constantly self-sacraficed without recompense.

And, while Mary’s SELF-SACRAFICE was entirely HOLY… (and BF’ing is a beautiful, natural, God-given activity)…
I think IF (this is hypothetical… stick with me here)
Mary were living in an age where formula feeding was common, and she STILL lived an entirely HOLY and SELF-SACRIFICIAL life… then we’d be having a similar conversation about formula.

In all… the prayer and icons discuss Mary’s self-sacrificial gift of herself to raise the Christ-child.
But her breasts just facilitated… the ACT of BF’ing isn’t necessarily INHERENTLY holy…

… just a side note of no importance…
I’m an avid advocate for BF’ing. I BF both my children well past a year. I believe it’s the best choice nutritionally for babies.


i love the shrine…been there many times
i think all the verses from the bible that are about BF or mention BF as a holy symbol would also be appropriatefor this thread but since 'm nursing right at the moment can’t look them up:)


I disagree with you here. She would have only used formula if she were physically unable to breastfeed, and since she was perfect (not stained by the fall–original sin and it’s spiritual AND physical outcomes) it stands to reason this wouldn’t be an issue for her. She would choose and did choose the God-designed way to feed her child. Now, certainly choosing formula for a good reason (physical problems for instance) is fine, but I think many women today choose formula for less than stellar reasons. I know that for some women who have to bottle feed it is a sacrifice, but for the majority, it is a convenience–because they perceive breastfeeding as weird, hard, gross, etc. This is the perception that most breastfeeding advocates are trying to dispell. In a perfect world, bottle feeding wouldn’t be the norm, but of course, we don’t live anywhere near a perfect world, so we educate, lead by example and offer support. I certainly always try to be nonjudgemental of mothers bottle feeding, I don’t know their reasons and certainly wouldn’t ask them! However, I can and do support breastfeeding mothers and try to educate pregnant women to how great breastfeeding is for both mothers and babies. The Church is very supportive of breastfeeding–as the numerous biblical/papal references and shrines and paintings attest to. We should be proud that the Church is so countercultural and not be so wimpy about saying, breastfeeding is the best way to go. This in no way says those that have to/need to bottle feed are less of mothers, but that there is an optimal way to nourish our children!

God bless,


Then why did you bring this up?


Because some people think when you support breastfeeding that you are somehow telling bottlefeeding mothers they are sinful, that’s obviously not the case, however, breastfeeding is the best/optimal/God given (I’m sure there are tons of other ways to state this) way to nourish children. I’m trying not to offend those who have a real NEED to bottlefeed. However, just stating that breastfeeding is the best way always offends someone (kinda like saying the Catholic Church is the One True Church, it strikes people the wrong way, does that make any sense?)



Thank you for this thread!

Prayer to Our Lady of La Leche

[FONT=“Book Antiqua”]Prayer for Motherhood:

Lovely Lady of La Leche, most loving mother of the Child Jesus, and my mother, listen to my humble prayer. Your motherly heart knows my every wish, my every need. To you only, His spotless Virgin Mother, has your Divine Son given to understand the sentiments which fill my soul. Yours was the sacred privilege of being the Mother of the Savior. Intercede with him now, my loving Mother, that, in accordance with His will, I may become the mother of other children of our heavenly Father. This I ask, O Lady of La Leche, in the Name of your Divine Son, My Lord and Redeemer. Amen.


I often read while nursing and I once ran into a quote from a saint (maybe St. Augustine?) who wrote of Mary, “She was milk to our Bread.”

Here’s a prayer that some reading this may enjoy:
Hail Mary, White Lily of the Glorious and always-serene Trinity.
Hail brilliant Rose of the Garden of heavenly delights: O you, by whom God wanted to be born and by whose milk the King of Heaven wanted to be nourished! Nourish our souls with effusions of divine grace. Amen!

It is awsome to think of the humility of Jesus being born a helpless baby and of the amazing privledge Mary had to nourish Him Who Nourishes Us.


Do you guys think that eating in general is holy also? I mean, Jesus is the Bread of Life, and He instructed us to eat his Body and drink His Blood. So by using the rational that you are using for breastfeeding and extending it to all eating, would it be considered holy to eat pure foods only and not any of these modern foods with all of those unhealthy additives? What about all of those mothers who don’t have gardens because they do not want to sacrifice for their children and husbands to give them the healthiest and freshest vegetables but instead just trot off to the supermarket because it’s a lost easier and convenient?


hopeless, hopeless, hopeless, to think that any discussion here can stay on topic for more than 3 threads

the image of Mary nursing the infant Jesus was a frequent theme in medieval art, and like all religious art of the period, their images were surrounded by other religious symbols and imagery that made the painting into a sermon and meditation on relation of Mary’s fiat and self-gift, and a foretaste of Christ’s self-gift to come in the sacrifice of Calvary and both the sacrificial and nurturing aspects of Eucharist. There is a famous painting that served as a subject of sermons by St. Bernard of Clairveaux, who wrote and preached so beautifully on the subject of Mary in general, and specifically on the relation of her maternity, including some beautiful reflections on her feeding our Lord from her breast.

I hope someone here has knowledge of sites that have classical religious art and can refer us. Where such images seemed natural and beautiful in that era, our culture has so objectified women in general that we have probably lost our ability to appreciate such art for what it conveys.


When the Person eating is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, yes. When Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, eating was holy. When Jesus divided the loaves and fish, eating was holy. At the Last Supper, eating was most especially holy. And when the Infant Jesus suckled at the breast of His mother, eating was holy.

Jesus made ordinary events of life opportunities for holiness. He shares with us a chance to become holy also. By reflecting upon the life of Jesus we lift our hearts and minds to Him, and we transform the ordinary events of our life into a prayer. Such prayers are simple, and we can do it any time we eat any food or do anything related to what our Incarnate Lord did. This thread specifically invited reflection on the relationship between Jesus as an infant and His mother, Mary.


Why are people so threatened by breastfeeding? I’ve seen this many times. Some people get really defensive as soon as they discover I’m involved in La Leche. It’s always puzzled me.



Perhaps the holy activity threatens their comfortable accomodation with sinful thoughts. As I wrote and Fransiscan repeated “If St. Mary is our example then breast feeding is a holy activity.”



I honestly do not understand why breastfeeding is holy, but then when my child is weaned and eats solid food, eating is no longer considered holy, even though I am the one still feeding him. I was just asking an honest question, I didn’t mean to start WWIII.
I’m sorry for intruding on your thread; I won’t post again.


God designed women to be able to feed their children. Since Mary was perfect she would not have the usual difficulties that some moms have with breastfeeding. I absolutely do not believe if it were common in Mary’s time to bottle feed that she would have. I’m not militantly pro-breast feeding. I breast feed and supplemented with formula for the first 6 months and then swithced to formula all together. But it doesn’t make sense to me that Mary would formula feed since God designed breastfeeding as a perfect natural way of feeding children.


I think we misunderstood your post, and I think you misunderstood mine. Feeding your weaned child can still be a holy activity. While I was writing my earlier post on this thread this morning, my five year old asked me for a glass of milk. I would have liked to have written more, but instead I got off the computer to feed my children. I also made toast for them out of bread bought at the same convenience store where I bought the milk.

Jesus tells us to feed the hungry–our children are sometimes hungry. So often as we do it for the least of them, we do it for Jesus. In the case of the Blessed Mother, she quite literally fed Jesus when she fed her child. Motherhood provides a wonderful and natural opportunity to perform corporal works on mercy. Doing simple acts with love makes those acts holy. I don’t think breastfeeding is of itself any “holier” than other acts done with love, but it is a beautiful example of self-giving in motherhood.


I have finally figured out why breast feeding advocates frequently make me uneasy. In their zeal to promote the practice they go overboard and attempt to raise feeding the baby into some sort of secular sacrament. Let’s not go overboard folks.


It isn’t secular.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit