Forget daycare I"m off to the House of Lords! Breast feeding Baroness first to feed her son on the job (and it"s only taken 700 years)
Forget daycare I”m off to the House of Lords! Breast feeding Baroness first to feed her son in the Upper House (and it”s only taken 700 years)
2:14 AM on 23rd May 2011
It has a reputation for being rather a stuffy old place.
But the House of Lords has proved to be remarkably welcoming towards its first breastfeeding member and her baby son.
Baroness Worthington feeds six month old Rohan Worthington Chennu on the Lords’ terrace, in her office or in one of the ladies’ lavatories – and says Their Noble Lordships are always delighted to see him.
Modern mum: When the Labour peer, 39, is dealing with papers and committee work, Rohan is looked after in the opposition chief whip”s office
When the newly created Labour peer, 39, is dealing with papers and committee work, Rohan is looked after in the opposition chief whip’s office.
She has also secured a Lords’ visitor’s pass for her babysitter.
Today Lady Worthington, an environmental campaigner, said: ‘Rohan is a cheerful chap and likes being out and about. It’s quite a novelty to see a baby in the Lords so all the peers stop and have a little talk or a play with him.
‘The usual comment when they see him is, “Here comes the youngest member of the House of Lords”.’
Lady Worthington, who is herself the youngest woman member of the Lords, added: ‘He’s much happier being taken to the Lords than being at home.
‘He likes being stimulated, so this is ideal. It’s very bright and busy. He looks around at all the gold and colour. I think he probably thinks it’s normal now.’
First: Baroness Worthington is first member of the Lords to breastfeed in the precincts of the House of Lords in its 700 year history
She is believed to be the first member of the Lords to breastfeed in its precincts in its 700 year history.
Married to neuroscientist Dr Srivas Chennu, she commutes to Parliament from their Cambridge home. The couple will consider full-time child care when Rohan is older, she says.
Juggling bills and baby: Baroness Bryony Worthington at home in Cambridge with six month old baby Rohan
Bryony Worthington founded the carbon trading think-thank and campaign group Sandbag and played a key role helping David Milliband to write the 2008 Climate Change Act.
She was elevated to the Lords last November by Ed Milliband while expecting her first child. In her maiden speech earlier this year she thanked ‘all the staff of the house who have made my baby son feel very welcome’.
No rules prevent breastfeeding in the Lords generally, but it is not permitted to breastfeed in the chamber.
Recent reports have indicated that Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the Lords, was considering changing the rules so young mothers could breastfeed their children ‘discreetly’ in the chamber.
Yesterday Lady Worthington said she did not particularly want to breastfeed in the chamber.
‘I guess in the future if the Lords reforms there may be more mothers with even younger babies here and they will be allowed to do it, but it’s not high on my list of priorities,’ she said.
In the Commons, a call in 2000 by Julia Drown, a Labour MP, to allow breastfeeding in committee rooms was blocked by Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker at the time. Since then, MPs have passed laws encouraging women to breastfeed by clarifying their legal right to do so in public.
BREAST FEEDING CAMPAIGNERS CRITICISE GOVERNMENT
Campaigners have criticised the Government for cutting its support for National Breastfeeding Week, which was due to run next month.
Thedecision, which will reportedly save just a few hundred thousand pounds, means there will be no UK-wide campaign to remind parents of thebenefits of breastfeeding.
The Royal College of Midwives said it was ‘disappointed’ while the National Childbirth Trust called the Government’s move ‘frustrating’.
The NHS and the World Health Organisation advise that breast milk is the best form of nutrition for infants.
Itrecommends breastfeeding only for the first six months of a baby”s lifebecause. But although four in five women in England start off breastfeeding, only one in five keeps it up until the six-month mark.