Australian Senator Larissa Waters made history yesterday when she became the first Australian politician to breastfeed during a parliamentary session, the BBC reports.
“It’s slightly ridiculous, really, that feeding one’s baby is international news,” Waters told the BBC. “Women have been breastfeeding since time immemorial.”
Although the House of Representatives voted to allow breastfeeding and bottle-feeding last year, Waters—and her baby daughter, Alia Joy—were the first to take advantage of it. Before this rule change, babies were banned from entering the lower house’s chambers. In 2003, assembly member Kirstie Marshall and her 11-day-old daughter were ejected from Parliament because the baby was a “stranger.”
Here is Kirstie Marshall before she was ejected from the Vic Parliament for breastfeeding her 11-day old bub. Look how far we have come! pic.twitter.com/LrzZcIFBXq— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) May 10, 2017
Some countries are less suspicious of babies: A Spanish politician who fed her son in parliament faced political backlash, but was legally fine. Others are even further ahead—last year, politician Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir nursed her daughter while actually addressing the Icelandic legislature.
But plenty still have a ways to go. The UK’s House of Commons still does not allow breastfeeding in the chambers, also under the stranger-baby logic. And while the U.S. Senate has discussed breastfeeding many times—and public breastfeeding is legal in D.C.—it’s unclear whether or not anyone has actually tried pulling it off on the floor (officials did not respond to requests for comment.) Time for a brave American baby to step up.
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