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Australian Senator Larissa Waters Makes Breastfeeding History in Parliament

May 10, 2017

When Australian Senator Larissa Waters said she would feed her newborn daughter whenever or wherever, she meant it.

Waters became the first Australian politician to breastfeed her child in Parliament, she tweeted on Tuesday. "So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli #auspol," she wrote. Her post has been shared more than 1,000 times as of early Wednesday morning.

Waters has recently returned to work after a 10-week-long maternity leave, according to CBS News. But shortly after the birth of her daughter, whose name is Alia Joy and who is now two months old, she had already planned to breastfeed in Parliament if her child required it.

"I'll be having a few more weeks off but will soon be back in parliament with this little one in tow. She is even more inspiration for continuing our work to address gender inequality and stem dangerous climate change. (And yes, if she's hungry, she will be breastfed in the Senate chamber)," Waters wrote in a Facebook post.

According to CBS, the country's Parliamentary rules were changed last year to create a more "family friendly" environment. Before, children were technically banned from the Senate chamber, and breastfeeding mothers were given a proxy to vote.

Waters clearly supports these changes.

"We need more women and parents in Parliament," she wrote on Facebook. "And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone."

The calm reaction to Waters breastfeeding stands in contrast to the reception Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa received last year. After she breastfed her infant son Diego in parliament, other politicians referred to the move as "lamentable" and "frankly unnecessary."

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