Sen. Tammy Duckworth Can Now Breastfeed on Senate Floor Due to Rule Change

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A rule change in the United States Senate has made it possible for Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth to breast-feed on the Senate floor.

The resolution will allow all senators — men and women — to bring their children under age 1 onto the floor.

It also allows women to breast-feed during votes. It was passed unanimously.

Duckworth, who gave birth to a baby girl this month, spearheaded the rule change and thanked her colleagues for "helping bring the Senate into the 21st Century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work."

"By ensuring that no senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child, the Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies," Duckworth said in a statement after the vote.

Duckworth, who is the first woman to give birth while serving in the Senate, is taking her maternity leave in Washington D.C., instead of Illinois, so that she can be available to cast votes in the Senate if needed.

She had reportedly been working on having the rule about children on the floor changed for months as she thought the previous rule might impede her ability to be present while caring for her newborn.

Other countries have already implemented the practice.

In October, Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament, addressed lawmakers while breast-feeding her 6-week-old daughter. She did not think it was a big deal.

“It’s like any job," she said. "You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do."

In May, Sen. Larissa Waters became the first woman to breast-feed in Australia Federal Parliament. Many lauded the mother for her actions, but she said it was nothing that deserved the attention.

“Breast-feeding is a normal and natural thing that women have been doing since time immemorial, and in that sense, it’s quite strange to me that it caused such a sensation,” Waters said.

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