Argentine politician Victoria Donda Perez breastfeeds her daughter, Trilce, during a session of Parliament. (Photo: Infobae/Twitter)
A photo of an Argentine politician, which shows her breastfeeding her 8-month-old during a Parliamentary session, is going viral this week.
Victoria Donda Perez, a member of Argentina’s Parliament, was recently captured on camera nursing her infant daughter, Trilce, by local news outlet Infobae. The organization then tweeted the photo, which also shows Perez’s desk covered in baby toys, and it has made a splash online in recent days.
Perez hasn’t commented publicly on the photo. While most of the response has been positive on Twitter — comments like, “I friggin’ love this,” and “Bravo! As nature intended!” are the majority — some users are not so enthusiastic. “Sorry ladies, but this is just obscene. Complete and utter disregard for the country’s highest institution. No offense,” wrote one user. Another added, “That’s nonsense. Parliament is not a personal bedroom. The woman should be sanctioned. There’s [an] appropriate place to do that.”
But Susan Crowe, MD, director of outpatient breastfeeding medicine services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, applauds Perez for her efforts to serve both her country and her baby. “I think it’s a fabulous example for other women and other leaders about the importance of accommodating women in the workplace,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “Mothers have so much to contribute, and a lot of them aren’t in a position to choose not to be employed. It’s great that she can balance contributing to her family as well as the society she is serving.”
And even though this photo shows a mother outside of the U.S., Crowe says it’s an important image for stateside moms to see. “In this country, more than 50 percent of mothers who have children under 12 months old are employed outside of the home,” she says. “This is a wonderful depiction of how women can blend working and doing the best thing for their babies with breastfeeding.”
Breastfeeding rates in Argentina are a bit higher than they are in the U.S. According to UNICEF’s 2013 data, 54 percent of babies in Argentina are exclusively breastfed until six months and 28 percent are still breastfeeding at the age of 2. In the U.S., of infants born in 2011 (the most recent data available), 49 percent were still breastfeeding at 6 months, and only 27 percent were breastfeeding at 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Crowe says that U.S. policies with regard to breastfeeding focus largely on break time for new moms to express milk during the day, but that “as our culture embraces breastfeeding more, it’s nice to see more women having their children at work so they can breastfeed directly.”
As for those who complain about the photo being “obscene” or not “appropriate,” Crowe isn’t buying it. “Some people end up showing more of their body than others in these pictures,” she says, “but the bottom line is you are probably seeing more breasts in a Victoria’s Secret ad.”