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Canadian Minister Breastfeeds During Parliament Session: 'Baby's Gotta Eat and I Had Votes'

A Canadian minister is garnering attention for breastfeeding her 3-month-old son during a Parliament session on Tuesday.

During Parliament’s daily Question Period session, Karina Gould, the Minister of Democratic Institutions and representative of Burlington, Ontario, was spotted nursing her son Oliver.

The act drew praise and criticism on social media, but Gould said her co-workers are fully supportive.

“No shame in breastfeeding! Baby’s gotta eat & I had votes. Clearly still work to do… Glad @HoCSpeaker & parl colleagues supportive! :),” she tweeted on Wednesday.

And Gould said in an interview that she’s excited to show Oliver the photos of him in Parliament one day.

“I hope by the time that I show him … it’s not something that will be strange,” she said on the Canadian radio show As It Happens.

She added that she’s “been delighted with the response” to her decision to breastfeed, but pointed out that she is not the first politician to nurse in Parliament. She is, however, the first minister to do it.

Gould became Canada’s first federal minister to have a baby while in office when she delivered Oliver in March. When she returned from maternity leave in May, Gould was happy to be able to bring him along, with support from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

She joins the legions of female politicians who have breastfed in their country’s government offices, like Larissa Waters, the former Australian senator who also drew attention for nursing in Parliament in May 2017. No U.S. congressperson has breastfed during a session — but Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth made history when she became the first sitting senator to have a baby while in office in April, and then again that month when she became the first to bring a baby to the Senate floor.

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