Viral Photo Shows New Zealand Speaker Feeding MP's Baby During Parliament Debate

The New Zealand Parliamentary Speaker had a special guest onto the chamber floor Wednesday, as he presided over a debate that garnered praise on social media.

Trevor Mallard, speaker in the country's House of Representatives, posted an image on his Twitter page of him holding, rocking and feeding MP Tamati Coffey's newborn son while in the speaker's chair.

He captioned the photo: "Normally the Speaker's chair is only used by Presiding Officers but today a VIP took the chair with me. Congratulations @tamaticoffey and Tim on the newest member of your family."

The pictures have since been shared and liked thousands of times, with many lauding Mallard for normalizing the babysitting duties.

People on social media were quick to praise Mallard and Coffey. "Thank you for normalizing the family unit," one person tweeted in response to Mallard's photo on Wednesday. "We need to see more of this. Work places need to adapt to enable this behavior."

Another Twitter user said: "New Zealand...you might be a small country, but you have a huge lesson to teach the world!" Another added, "That is the most beautiful thing I've seen in years."

Coffey's son was born via a surrogate to him and his partner, Tim Smith, in July.

Other MPs — like Gareth Hughes and Golriz Ghahraman — also rushed to praise Coffey for bringing the baby into the parliament chamber. Green Party MP Ghahraman wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: "Who needs to see this today? Every single last one of us, that's who. Here's a brand new papa holding his newborn in our House of Representatives right now."

Last year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history becoming the first world leader in nearly 30 years to have a child while in office. She later returned to her job, while her partner, Clarke Gayford, became a stay-at-home dad.

New Zealand Parliament
Royal Commissioner and Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias speaks while Court of Appeal President Justice Ellen France (R) and Chief High Court judge Helen Winkelmann look on the Commission Opening of Parliament at Parliament on October 20, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Bringing newborns to work may be changing elsewhere. British lawmaker Jo Swinson brought her baby to a parliamentary debate last September, and Australian legislator Larissa Waters breastfed her daughter while in Parliament in 2017.

The United States (except for in California, which offers six weeks of partially-paid paternity leave) still remains the only developed country that doesn't require paid parental leave, according to the Pew Research Center. On the other end of the spectrum, Estonia offers more than a year and a half of paid leave to new parents.

Viral Photo Shows New Zealand Speaker Feeding MP's Baby During Parliament Debate | World