Carolina Bescansa
Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias hands baby Diego back to Carolina Bescansa, who has been breastfeeding in the Spanish parliamentReuters

New Spanish MP Carolina Bescansa has already fulfilled one of her campaign promises: she breastfed her newborn son, Diego, during a parliamentary session in Madrid. But not everyone is happy about it.

Bescansa had been helping her colleagues determine a direction for the government after an inconclusive general election in December, when her baby son, Diego needed attention.

After some angry sidelong glances from her fellow politicians, Bescansa defended the right of parents to raise their child in whatever way "they are able or wish to do" to the Spanish news agency Efe. She said she had been "privileged" not to have been separated from her baby since he was born, reports the BBC.

Acting Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz of the People's Party criticised the move as "lamentable," and Socialist MP Carme Chacon said it was "frankly unnecessary". Others accused Bescansa of attention-seeking and pointed to the existence of a nursery in the parliament building to help politicians manage childcare. Still others had fun cuddling and making funny faces for Diego.

Bescansa, of the Podemas (We Can) party which came third in the election, failed in her bid to become parliamentary speaker.

She's not the first female member of a European governing body to bring her baby to work. Iolanda Pineda of the Socialists Party of Catalonia also took her baby into Spain's upper house of Parliament in 2012, and Italian politician Licia Ronziulli was first photographed with her baby in the European Parliament in 2010 when her daughter was just six weeks old.

In 2015 a group of MPs in the UK demanded that a ban on new mothers breastfeeding in the House of Commons chamber be overturned.

As of 13 January, the Spanish Parliament remained deadlocked on a government coalition.