Another day, another story about a woman who continued to do what she usually does while going through the process of child-rearing. In May, Australian Senator Larissa Waters made headlines as the first woman to breastfeed during a parliamentary vote, and on Wednesday she became the first woman to do the same while delivering a speech to Parliament.
According to HuffPost Australia, Waters was in the middle of feeding her 14-week-old daughter, Alia, when her turn came to speak on a motion addressing the prevalence of black lung disease in the country’s coal miners. She told BuzzFeed News that she breastfed during the speech because “black lung disease is back among coal miners in Queensland, and Alia was hungry.”
In 2016, Waters was one of the lawmakers to push for a rule change allowing women to bring their breastfeeding infants into the chamber. Prior to that, new moms were required to vote by proxy while they breastfed off the Senate floor. When the rule passed, opposition leader Tony Burke acknowledged that “it’ll be a long time — and possibly never — before this job is truly family-friendly, but this is a significant way of trying to improve.”
As for Waters, she said she hoped her decision would make everyone chill out about breastfeeding. “Women have always worked and reared children,” she said. “I hope [this] helps to … remove any vestige of stigma against breastfeeding a baby when they are hungry.” And yes, her motion passed.