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Australian senator Larissa Waters is the first woman to breastfeed in parliament

"It's frankly ridiculous, really, that feeding one's baby is international news"

By Andrea Tim | Published: 12 May 2017

Yes, Senator Waters
Photo: Larissa Waters

Larissa Waters, an Australian senator from the Greens party, has become the first politician to breastfeed in the country's parliament.

At the Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, Waters breastfed her 2-month-old daughter Alia Joy during a voting session in the Senate Chamber. It was also her first appearance in parliament since she gave birth.

"I am so proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament!" Waters wrote on her Facebook page. "We need more women and parents in Parliament. And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone."

Under the old rules, MPs could only care for their babies in the public galleries or offices in the parliament building. Last February, the Australian House of Representatives started allowing senators to breastfeed in the chamber.

"It's frankly ridiculous, really, that feeding one's baby is international news," Waters told the BBC World Service on Thursday. "Women have been breastfeeding for as long as time immemorial."

"I had hoped to not only be able to feed my baby but to send a message to young women that they belong in the parliament," she added.

Waters also tweeted an old photo of Victorian Labour MP Kirstie Marshall from 2003, in which she was breastfeeding her 11-day-old baby in the Victorian Parliament before getting ejected.

"Look how far we have come!" Waters wrote.

And now we push for the day when this won't even be newsworthy.

Related: Mother's Day gift guide for new mums
Related: 10 tips for new mothers from new mum, Patricia Knudsen


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