The Politics of Breastfeeding as Needed

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( — June 30, 2018) Cheyenne, Wyoming — Times have changed and in some regions of the world, things get flipped around much easier than in other places as witnessed when Larissa Waters, an Australian Senator, breastfed her two month old daughter, Alia Joy, while participating in a parliamentary vote in early May 2017. It was a massive event for working-nursing moms throughout the commonwealth to be represented so unflinchingly through the act of this natural function and in such a public arena, as she became the first politician to do so in parliament. 

“It’s frankly ridiculous, really, that feeding one’s baby is international news. Women have been breastfeeding for as long as time immemorial,” declared Waters. “I had hoped to not only be able to feed my baby but to send a message to young women that they belong in the parliament.” 

A simply yet powerful stance was taken which transformed the politician landscape as this novel notion of a mom nursing their child in a high profiled government setting was reported worldwide. It really ought not to be such a major issue but considering the frequent snobbery and overt indignity meted out to mothers in the workplace, it is indeed a step in the right direction. 

“When waiting in the Chamber for several hours to speak in an all-day debate I asked if I could dive out to make sure my son had eaten and was told that I would invalidate my claim to speak if I did as ‘it’s about choices’,” recalled Rupa Huq, British politician. 

Such patronizing slights are far too common for mothers who wish to work and care for their children simultaneously. But sentiments are being forced to evolve throughout the world. 

“According to a senior Commons clerk the issue of infant feeding is really a question of whether to permit babies into the Chamber and committees. This move would enable all Members to fully participate in House business,” says Sarah Childs, author of The Good Parliament UK diversity report (July 2016). “In addition to allowing Members to carry out their representative functions, permitting entry to infants would have symbolic benefits – showcasing the Commons as a role-model “parent friendly” institution. It is accordingly recommended. The provision of proper facilities for infant feeding near the Chamber and across the Parliamentary Estate should also be made.” 

As more and more women join the workforce, it’s only a matter of time until full provisions be made by all employers for their nursing staff to continue their vital maternal functions in total comfort and respect. Additionally, it is well advised that nursing mothers sustain a low-octane diet for the total length of lactation and responsibly conduct strip tests on the milk produced as needed using a breast milk alcohol analysis kit such as the HealthyWiser™ PureMilk™ Alcohol Detecting Strips for Breastfeeding.

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