Breastfeeding in public shouldn’t be controversial, but unfortunately it’s still met with opposition from plenty of critics.
Despite how far women’s rights have come, we still live in a society that over-sexualizes women’s bodies — especially their breasts. We forget that breasts are actually meant for something other than the male gaze: feeding our children.
While nursing a baby shouldn’t be a political issue, the fact of the matter is that it currently is.
Lucky for us, one progressive politician is taking a stance and normalizing breastfeeding in public.
Australian Senator Larissa Waters made history by becoming the first politician to breastfeed her baby in the parliament senate chamber.
Returning to work 10 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Alia Joy, the Green Party senator nursed her child during a vote on a Greens motion.
But government rules haven’t always been so accommodating.
Just eight years ago, Greens member Sarah Hanson-Young’s daughter was taken from her arms and removed from the senate floor.
Unsurprisingly, Waters actually played a key role in helping extend parliament’s breastfeeding rules in the senate last year. Not only is breastfeeding allowed in the federal parliament, but new mothers and fathers are also able to care for their infants while on the floor.
In a public statement, Waters remarked, “I am so proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal parliament! And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone.”
It’s about time politicians around the world begin normalizing breastfeeding as something natural, not sexual or obscene.
Being in public doesn’t make a woman’s body public property. She should have full autonomy over her body — especially when feeding her baby.
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