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Breastfeeding rates remain low here
[Posted: Tue 30/09/2008 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Ireland continues to have a relatively low breastfeeding rate, with only around 50% of women breastfeeding when they leave hospital, compared to 78% in the UK and 99% in Norway.
The facts were released to coincide with National Breastfeeding Week, which runs from October 1-8. The aim of this year’s event is to raise awareness of the various support services for mothers who are breastfeeding or are considering doing so.
Research carried out last year by the HSE found that support and practical information are vital for mothers who wish to breastfeed. The findings revealed that emotional support from a partner, being shown how to breastfeed in hospital and being provided with information on where to seek help are regarded as the three most important forms of support for mothers who are new to breastfeeding.
To mark National Breastfeeding Week the HSE has a range of support materials available, including a ‘Feeding Your Baby’ leaflet, a ‘Families Supporting Breastfeeding’ leaflet, a breastfeeding information calendar and the Breastfeeding Support Network Card – a wallet sized card providing information on where and how help and support can be accessed by breastfeeding mothers.
All materials can be obtained in maternity hospitals, health centres, GP surgeries, pharmacies and HSE health promotion departments. These resources can also be accessed through the HSE breastfeeding site, http://www.breastfeeding.ie or via the HSE information line on 1850 24 1850.
“Research has shown that support and information are particularly important in the early days of breastfeeding. We encourage women who are considering breastfeeding to attend a breastfeeding support group and seek information during their pregnancy. This will ensure they are more confident and well prepared,” said Catherine Murphy of the HSE.
Meanwhile according to national breastfeeding co-ordinator, Maureen Fallon, there are many reasons why breastfeeding makes sense for both mothers and babies.
“It provides perfect food for babies. It is also the healthy option with numerous health advantages for both mum and baby. It’s convenient, free and environmentally friendly. Breastfeeding ensures optimal growth, development and health, not just while breastfeeding continues, but throughout life,” Ms Fallon explained.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ailments such as gastroenteritis, respiratory, urinary tract and ear infections, asthma, eczema, obesity and childhood diabetes. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding, with lower risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis later in life. They also get their figures back faster and easier.
National Breastfeeding Week will see a series of events taking place around the country that will inform and educate people about the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby as well as providing guidance on any problems that may be encountered.
The week will also see the launch of an entertaining new play on breastfeeding, addressing the difficulties and issues encountered by breastfeeding mothers. The play, Milk It!, which is the brain child of the multidisciplinary South Dublin/Wicklow Breastfeeding Committee, is aimed at changing attitudes to breastfeeding among younger women and builds on the experiences of real life mothers.
The play will be performed at a number of locations in South Dublin and it is hoped that it will eventually be used as an education resource for young people.
National Breastfeeding Week is supported by all health professional groups and voluntary breastfeeding groups such as La Leche League of Ireland and Cuidiú, the Irish Childbirth Trust.
|junebride Posted: 06/10/2010 14:02|
There is insufficient support for mothers who would like to breastfeed in hospital, partly due to lack of staff, partly due to staff not believing that there's real benefits to breastfeeding. Education of staff also seems to be lacking, it seems to be common that bad advice is given, e.g. top ups with formula before breastfeeding is established, and other simple advice, like skin to skin contact and breastfeeding within the 1st hour after birth is not given at all!
Breastfeeding is a learnt skill and as long as there's no support for mothers available, these numbers are not going to change. In my opinion this also leads to most people believing that breastfeeding is really hard, when in reality it can be much easier than bottle feeding, if the mother and baby get off to a good start!
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