News World Jacinda Ardern’s return to work baby rules
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Jacinda Ardern’s return to work baby rules

Jacinda Ardern family
"I'm very, very lucky," said Ms Ardern at home with Clarke Gayford and baby Neve of her domestic setup as she goes back to work. Photo: Getty
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A day after New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern returned to work after maternity leave, strict rules have been laid down about press intrusion on her daughter Neve.

The parliament’s speaker Trevor Mallard issued a warning to media planning to take unauthorised photos of Neve, who was born on June 21.

The only time photos or video of the baby girl can be taken are in the level one foyer of Wellington’s Parliament House or by invitation.

Journalists broaching the rule will have their accreditation removed and their employer will also be penalised, according to reports.

New Zealand’s baby-friendly parliament means Ms Ardern will be allowed to breastfeed during debates, and Neve can learn to swim in the pool with other politicians’ children.

Ms Ardern, 38, officially took back the reins from her deputy Winston Peters at midnight on Wednesday.

She spent her first day back at paid work speaking to the media at the Auckland home she shares with partner Clarke Gayford, 40, and their little girl.

Her office released a photo of the trio, with a beaming Ms Ardern holding a blanket-draped Neve and Mr Gayford doing dad casual holding a cuppa.

Jacinda Ardern family
Hands-on dad Mr Gayford holds Neve in the family’s kitchen. Photo: Getty

In a television interview, Ms Ardern said she has been “so focused on food, nappies and sleep” but now Mr Gayford, who presents a TV fishing show, has assumed full-time parenting duties.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Ms Ardern said she was “privileged” that her domestic situation meant she could go back to her high-profile job so soon after giving birth.

“I have a partner who can be there alongside me, who’s taking up a huge part of that joint responsibility because he’s a parent too, he’s not a babysitter,” she said.

Neve will get the first stamps in her passport next month when she goes to New York with Ms Ardern, who is speaking at the United Nations.

“Through all of this it’s been about how do we meet Neve’s interests, but make sure that I’m not compromising in the way that I’m doing my job as well,” Ms Ardern told New Zealand website Stuff.

She told TVNZ she is “ready and very keen to get back to work”, but acknowledged that her maternity leave with her newborn was a “gift.”

Said Ms Ardern, “I always expected, given [Neve] is still so young and so small, that there would be a real tension there between making sure I was meeting all of her needs and of course my responsibilities.

“But I am confident with all of the support I’m very lucky to have, that we will absolutely make it work.”

Last Sunday, she shared a video to Facebook talking about her return to work, and showing  her rocking Neve’s crib with her foot while she read government papers.

Mr Gayford posted to his Instagram account on Thursday a clear hint about how fatherhood is treating him:

The family will leave Auckland on Saturday for Wellington, and Ms Ardern will take her place in parliament from Monday.

“I understand how acute it will feel,” Ms Ardern told New Zealand Focus of being back on the clock.

“But, equally, I think lots of parents feel guilt that either they’re not doing enough in their parenting role or they’re not doing enough in their 9 to 5 role. There is guilt behind every door.”