Larissa Waters/Twitter

Politician makes Australian history as she becomes the first to breastfeed in parliament

Senator Larissa Waters fed her two-month-old daughter as she returned to work for the first time since giving birth.

AN AUSTRALIAN SENATOR has made political history by becoming the first politician to breastfeed in the nation’s parliament.

Senator Larissa Waters, from the Green party, fed her two-month-old daughter Alia Joy during a vote yesterday as she returned to work in the upper house Senate for the first time since giving birth.

“So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli,” Waters wrote on Twitter.

The lower house changed its rules last year and joined the Senate to allow lawmakers to breastfeed and bottle-feed in the chamber, however no MPs from either house had done so until now.

Breastfeeding has been permitted in the Australian Senate since 2003.

The rule change came around following a backlash in 2015 when a government minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, was requested to consider pumping milk to avoid missing her parliamentary duties.

Breastfeeding in public has become a hot topic in many countries, and female lawmakers have been criticised for taking their babies to parliamentary sessions.

Last year, a politician in Iceland spoke in parliament while breastfeeding her baby daughter, and infants are allowed in the European and Spanish parliaments.

Waters later tweeted about Australian Victorian state politician Kirstie Marshall who was ejected from the chamber for breastfeeding her baby back in 2003, stating “Look how far we have come”.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get disheartened by the sexism women still face in the workplace,” Waters wrote on Facebook this morning.

“But sometimes it pays to look back and see how far we have come.”

Waters has since changed her Facebook profile photo to an image of herself breastfeeding in parliament, attracting dozens of mostly positive comments.

Labour Senator Katy Gallagher said the moment deserved to be acknowledged.

“Women have been doing it in parliaments around the world,” she told Sky News Australia.

“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.”

A recent report on diversity in UK politics recommended that the House of Commons should consider allowing breastfeeding.

The issue of breastfeeding by Irish politicians has never arisen in the Dáil, however the topic itself has come up numerous times.

Additional reporting by AFP. 

Read: Ireland’s breast milk bank is running very low on supply

More: Sabina Higgins invites 200 mothers and babies to a breastfeeding morning at the Áras

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