An Australian senator breastfed her baby during a vote in a federal Parliament first

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A newborn baby's firsts are always exciting: baby's first smile, baby's first words and for Australian Senator Larissa Waters' newborn — baby's first parliamentary vote.

According to the Sky News, Waters made history the first day back on the job by breastfeeding her daughter, Alia, in the Senate chambers.

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

Waters helped push through changes to Parliamentary rules in 2016, which once banned children from the Senate chambers and forced breastfeeding mothers to appoint a proxy to vote for them. Last year's revision now allows all parents to "briefly care" for infants while doing their job in the chambers, breastfeeding included.

Other governing bodies would do well to take a cue from Waters and her colleagues: In January 2016, Spanish parliament member Carolina Bescansa was met with harsh criticism for calling a recess to breastfeed her 5-month-old son after a three-hour session.

"If a mother has to care for her child she has to care for him wherever," Bescana said at the time. 

Waters' colleagues agreed, with Australian Sen. Katy Gallagher applauding Waters for unapologetically caring for her baby on Tuesday.

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

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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