Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould has already made history as the first federal Canadian cabinet minister to give birth while holding office.
But on Tuesday, she had parents across the country cheering as she casually breastfed her new baby in the House of Commons during question period. She can be seen smiling and cooing at baby Oliver in the background as Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor answered a question about marijuana legalization.
Gould gave birth to Oliver in March, and returned to work with baby in tow last month.
"As we join so many other Canadian parents who juggle the responsibilities of career and family, Alberto and I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support," Gould said in a statement announcing the birth of her son.
What a day! Although a busy one, Oliver and I had a terrific first day back in Ottawa. Introducing Oliver to my colleagues, including the Prime Minister, and getting back to it in Question Period were definitely highlights. Here we come day two! 🇨🇦 Quelle journée! Bien qu'occupés, Oliver et moi avons eu une formidable première journée à Ottawa. Le fait d'avoir présenté Oliver à mes collègues, y compris le premier ministre, et de revenir à la période des questions ont certainement marqué ma journée. Jour deux, on arrive!
On Tuesday, several reporters noted that she had brought Oliver to question period.
"I'm glad I live in a country where this is normal and accepted (as it should be)," Canadian Press reporter Teresa Wright tweeted in reaction to seeing Gould breastfeed.
Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould is breastfeeding her baby during QP in the House of Commons.— Teresa Wright (@ReporterTeresa) June 19, 2018
I'm glad I live in a country where this is normal and accepted (as it should be)
* This is not a partisan statement *
In 2016, politician Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir breastfed her baby while addressing Iceland's Parliament about an immigration bill she had put forward.
"She was hungry, and I wasn't expecting to speak, so I started feeding her," the MP for Iceland's Independence Party explained. "Then a representative asked a question about a proposal I had put forward, which I had to answer. I could choose to yank her off and leave her crying with another representative, or I could bring her with me and I thought that would be less disruptive."
The world's top health experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a child is six months old with continued breastfeeding to age two and beyond. But breastfeeding in public is often a challenge for new moms, with many shamed for it.
A recent study found that 17 per cent of Canadian moms admitted to feeling embarrassed while breastfeeding in public. And breastfeeding can be especially difficult to navigate for working moms, who have to balance feeding, pumping, and work.
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