Australian Parliament member Larissa Waters proves that if you don’t like the rules, change them. ?
If you don't like something, change it. Easy enough, right? Except, perhaps when decades of rules and traditions in the Australian Parliament are standing in your way. But it seems Queensland Senator Larissa Waters was up to the challenge: In 2016, she was instrumental in changing the rule that previously barred children, including breastfeeding infants, from the chambers.
Fast-forward one year and Waters' newest baby, two-month-old Alia, became the first infant who was able to breastfeed in the Australian Parliament—all while her mom was taking care of business. Like. A. Mom. Boss. ?
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 pic.twitter.com/w34nxWxG0y
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) May 9, 2017
The nursing session wasn't just beneficial for baby Alia—but is truly symbolic for just how much working moms can get done when they are allowed to do it. As Waters said in a follow-up Facebook post, “We need more women and parents in Parliament. And we need more family-friendly and flexible workplaces, and affordable childcare, for everyone."
We couldn't agree more, especially as studies have shown that employers with policies that empower breastfeeding mothers benefit from reduced health care costs and lower absentee rates. (All thanks to the link between breastfeeding and bolstered infant immune systems!) Plus, those mamas are much more likely to stay with the company. Win-win-win.
Although we may not be members of Parliament, any positive changes start with conversation—and, if necessary, standing up for our rights. In the United States, that means breastfeeding employee rights mandate that employers must provide reasonable pumping breaks for the first year postpartum. Or you could always offer to follow Waters' example and bring your baby to the office!