National Breastfeeding Week 2017 took  place from the 1st – 7th October.

Continuing the theme ‘Every Breastfeed Makes a Difference’ Siobhan Hourigan, National Breastfeeding Coordinator, Health and Wellbeing Division, HSE, advised HCP to spread the message that:

  • Every breastfeed makes a difference
  • Breastfeeding is important for the health of children and mothers, and the evidence is now stronger than ever (Victora et al, Lancet, 2016)
  • There is a wide range of support available
  • We’re here with help, information and support through health services, support groups, and online via www.breastfeeding.ie

 

Antenatal and postnatal breastfeeding support is provided by a wide range of healthcare professionals including midwives, public health nurses, nurses, lactation consultants (IBCLCs) and by voluntary breastfeeding organisations and there are over 300 support groups across the country. You can search by county here www.breastfeeding.ie/Support-search/

Antenatal breastfeeding preparation classes/workshops are provided in most maternity hospitals and some primary care centres.

Online support and answers to breastfeeding questions are available via webchat and email at the HSE website www.breastfeeding.ie

This free service is provided by lactation consultants (IBCLCs). The HSE breastfeeding Facebook page provides a community of support for parents and parents to be. www.facebook.com/HSEBreastfeeding/

Siobhan advises PHNs that if you are organising a local event for National Breastfeeding Week, please email the details to her office to be included on their events list. The Association of Lactation Consultants held its conference the weekend before National Breastfeeding Week on the 29th & 30th of September www.alcireland.ie/alci-all-ireland-conference-2017/

Breastfeeding posters, leaflets and guidelines can be ordered at www.healthpromotion.ie/publication/fullListing?category=Breastfeeding&searchHSE=

To celebrate breastfeeding week on Monday 2nd October the function room in the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry was a hive of activity as Sheila Lucey, PHN and Lactation Consultant, HSE, organised and hosted a health promotion event for the west Cork community. The event was designed to coincide with and celebrate National Breastfeeding Week with over 200 hundred people in  attendance. In preparation for the event, a focus group of mothers were consulted as to their desired health informational needs and speakers were organised in response to these needs. The speakers provided information on cancer prevention and screening (Marie Keating Foundation), sensory development of the infant, play therapy, sleep issues in children and the benefits of mindfulness. The highlight of the event for many was a talk by celebrity guest Pamela Flood, former Miss Ireland and Off the Rails presenter, about her positive breastfeeding experiences.

A mother’s personal experience is greatly valued and as a result mothers and fathers were asked to share their personal breastfeeding experience on individual green paper leaves, which were then attached to the Tree Of Life stand. Bantry’s Breastfeeding Experience Word Cloud was created using words provided by mothers to describe their unique journey. It was a joy to witness west Cork transition year students engage with the numerous information stands provided by various health professionals and voluntary breastfeeding support groups. Political parties were invited to highlight the importance of breastfeeding in national policy development.

The event was  kindly supported by the NMPDU, Cork, Kerry.