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International

Australian senator makes history by breastfeeding her baby in parliament

11:35, Wednesday, 10 May, 2017
Australian senator makes history by breastfeeding her baby in parliament

Alia Joy Waters is just weeks old. But she has already made political history in Australia by becoming the first baby to be breast fed in the Australian parliament.

Senator Larissa Waters returned to parliament today for the first time since giving birth to her second daughter earlier this year, bringing Alia Joy with her while she voted.

And when her baby needed it, she didn't hesitate to feed her. Afterwards, she wrote on Twitter: "So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli."

View image on Twitter
     Fellow politician Katy Gallagher said it was a moment that deserved to be acknowledged.

"Women have been doing it in parliaments around the world... It is great to see it is able to occur now in the Senate," she told Sky News.

"Women are going to continue to have babies and if they want to do their job and be at work and look after their baby... the reality is we are going to have to accommodate that."The milestone comes after Senator Waters instigated changes to Senate rules last year. The guidelines already already allowed breastfeeding in the chamber.

Thanks to her new mums and dads will now be allowed to briefly care for their infants on the floor of parliament.

The Australian House of Representatives has also made similar changes.

Last year, an Icelandic MP made headlines after breastfeeding her baby while speaking at the national parliament. Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, from the centre-right Independence Party, nursed her six-week-old daughter at the podium, while explaining her vote on new immigration legislation to colleagues. It was the first time an MP had fed her child while actually addressing parliament.

She told AFP being a mother is like any job: "you've got to do what you've got to do."

In the UK, which has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding worldwide, MPs are currently not allowed to breastfeed in the chamber of the House of Commons.

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