Australian Sen. Larissa Waters gives speech to Parliament while breastfeeding like it's NBD
Australian Sen. Larissa Waters continues to log historic firsts in her country: In May, she became the first woman to breastfeed during a parliamentary vote, and now she is the first person to file a motion while breastfeeding.
As Huffington Post Australia reported, Waters was in the middle of feeding her daughter, Alia, when her turn came to speak on the resurgence of black lung within the country's coal-mining community. Holding her baby to her breast, Waters stood to move the motion, NBD. Speaking to BuzzFeed, Waters said she hopes to set an example for other working mothers.
"Women have always worked and reared children, whether that work was paid in the workplace or unpaid in the home," she explained. "I hope [this] helps to normalize breastfeeding and remove any vestige of stigma against breastfeeding a baby when they are hungry."
Alia is now 14 weeks old — Waters returned to work when her daughter was just two months old and made international news by openly breastfeeding during Senate proceedings. At the time, she told Sky News that "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 ... [employers] are going to have to accommodate that."
In 2016, Waters helped change the Australian Parliament's rules about breastfeeding. New moms were obligated to send in a proxy to vote in their stead while they breastfed outside the Senate chambers, which barred children from entry. When a member of Parliament named Kelly O'Dwyer was told to simply "express more breastmilk" so she wouldn't miss votes, politicians rallied to change the policy.
A handful of working mothers have recently made headlines for breastfeeding during their countries' governmental proceedings: As NPR reported, a Spanish MP attracted criticism for parliamentary breastfeeding in 2016, her colleagues calling the move "lamentable" and "frankly unnecessary." In 2015, an Argentine politician breastfed in her parliament to widespread applause and in 2010, an Italian member of European Parliament — Licia Ronzulli — brought her seven-week-old infant to work.
Waters' colleagues have reportedly been supportive. They seem to enjoy having Alia around as much as she does.