New Zealand’s Parliament had a special guest Wednesday: the 1-month-old son of lawmaker Tamati Coffey and his husband, Tim Smith. Speaker Trevor Malloy rocked and fed the baby from the speaker’s chair after Coffey, a member of the Labour Party who represents Waiariki, brought the infant to work.
It was reminiscent of another big moment in New Zealand politics. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, one of a small number of world leaders to give birth while in office, brought her 3-month-old daughter, Neve Gayford, to the U.N. General Assembly last year. Neve got a temporary U.N. badge with a photo of her sleeping while wearing a blue beanie and identifying her as “Ms. Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford.”
In the United States, the 10-day-old daughter of Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) became the first child allowed on the Senate floor after lawmakers voted to allow babies under age 1 to accompany their parents to votes. Maile Pearl Bowlsbey was greeted by applause when she arrived at the U.S. Capitol on April 19, 2018, wearing a duckling onesie and a sweater.
Kenya’s temporary speaker of the National Assembly, Chris Omulele, however, told lawmaker Zuleikha Hassan this month that she had to leave the floor because she had brought her baby. Several lawmakers walked out in protest, the New York Times reported.
“I said, ‘Why should I stay at home and not go to work, just because of the baby?’” Hassan told the Times. “Why should they criminalize having a baby? So, I said, ‘I’m going to Parliament with a baby.’”
Golriz Ghahraman, also of the Green Party, shared a photo of Coffey holding his child on Twitter and wrote: “Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that’s who. Here’s a brand new papa holding his new born in our House of Representatives right now.”