Last year, Larissa Waters, an Australian politician, became the first woman to breastfeed her baby in the national senate. Her story made headlines and reignited a controversial debate about breastfeeding in public.
Waters was interviewed on the DW’s program, “What happens next?” and when she was asked why she felt she had to breastfeed her baby in public Waters said, “Well I have a job to do as a mother and as a parliamentarian and thankfully it’s 2018 and we can do both of those things at the same time.”
According to Waters her baby was very young at the time and had to be fed constantly. “Babies don’t wait when they are hungry. They don’t care about the adult world or about parliament. When they are hungry they want to be fed straight away.”
While nursing a child in the open is allowed in many public spaces across the world, many women say they feel uncomfortable or are frowned upon when feeding their babies.
Babies in government
In September, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand brought her infant daughter to the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders. Mother and daughter were spotted together inside the assembly hall.
“I’m combining my role as a mum and also as a leader and it is entirely possible to do both. She comes to functions with me. So, politicians love holding babies,” Ardern said.
However, bringing children into government bodies is still controversial. In a story from the UK’s Telegraph newspaper last year, Yuka Ogata, a Japanese politician was told she was forbidden from bringing her baby into a council session.
Explaining their logic, officials at the Kumamoto municipal assembly said that visitors and observers were not permitted on the floor, and that included children of politicians.
By Deutsche Welle