Gilda Sportiello becomes first Italian MP to breastfeed baby in Parliament

Gilda Sportiello breastfeeds her son Federico in the Chamber of Deputies. Photo: Twitter/@iacopo_melio

Rome: A baby took a seat in the Italian parliament for the first time ever on Wednesday, when lawmaker Gilda Sportiello breastfed her son Federico in the Chamber of Deputies, triggering a round of applause from fellow members.

The event would be more commonplace in many countries, but was underlined by the acting lower-house speaker in traditionally male-dominated Italy.

"It's the first time, with the backing of all parties. Best wishes to Federico for a long, free, and peaceful life," said Giorgio Mule as he chaired the parliamentary session. "Now we'll speak quietly."

In November last year a parliamentary rules panel gave the go-ahead to women lawmakers to enter the chamber with their children and breastfeed them up to the age of one.

"Too many women stop breastfeeding ahead of time, not by choice, but rather because they are forced to return to the workplace," said Sportiello, from the left-leaning 5-Star Movement.

Giorgia Meloni took office in October as Italy's first woman prime minister, but around two-thirds of the country's lawmakers are men.

While the event on Wednesday was a first for Italy, 13 years ago Licia Ronzulli, now a senator in the centre-right Forza Italia party, breastfed her daughter in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

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