Safefood is urging parents are being urged to make practical changes to everyday lifestyle habits such as portion sizes, drinks and screen time to make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of children and combat the island’s high levels of childhood overweight and obesity.
What does research tell us?
It is important that mothers are supported to continue to breastfeed when they go back to work. The WHO, Department of Health and HSE recommend that children are exclusively breastfed for 6 months.
September 30 2010
National Breastfeeding week, 1st - 8th October
A group of breastfeeding mums and their babies, including seven week old twins Caoimhe and Lauren Cleary, today (Thursday 30th September) launched this year’s National Breastfeeding Week.
Supported by the HSE, National Breastfeeding Week takes place from the 1st of October and focuses on providing expectant and new mothers and their families with information on sources of breastfeeding support.
To mark National Breastfeeding Week, a series of events will take place around the Country to inform and educate people as to the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby, for example:
Although breastfeeding is the natural choice, it is a skill that needs to be learned by a mother and her baby. Attending a breastfeeding class or breastfeeding support group can make a difference. HSE Public Health Nurses run regular breastfeeding groups around the Country throughout the year which expectant and breastfeeding mothers can attend for support and the opportunity to meet other mothers. Other health professionals including Midwives, GPs, Practice Nurses and Dieticians provide one-to-one information and support for expectant and breastfeeding mothers. In addition, local mother-to-mother support groups such as La Leche League and Cuidiu – Irish Childbirth Trust also provide information and support.
Speaking at the start of National Breastfeeding Week, Biddy O’Neill, HSE Acting Assistant National Director Health Promotion and Chair of the National Breastfeeding Steering Committee said “The benefits of breastfeeding are significant for babies and their mothers. Support and information are vital for women who choose to breastfeed their babies which is why knowing how to access the various support services and breastfeeding groups around the country is so important.”
Lisa Corbett, Health Promotion, HSE advises that “Breastfeeding is the healthy option for both mum and baby; it’s convenient and it is free. Some women who want to breastfeed may not feel confident to do so which is why it is so important to support mothers who want to breastfeed whether it is through providing information or support through a local community group. Often partners and family feel that breastfeeding is not something they can be part of, but just like assisting with bathing and nappy changing, knowing where to get the right breastfeeding information can make a big difference to the mother, especially in the early months.”
Lisa also went on to explain that “Once established most women find breastfeeding very convenient and enjoyable. It is important that we support breastfeeding in Irish society to ensure breastfeeding mothers feel more confident in responding to the needs of their breastfeeding babies when outside home. Society and service providers should aspire to providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for a mother to feed her baby whenever and wherever she needs to.”
Benefits of Breastfeeding for both Mother and Baby
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ailments such as gastroenteritis, respiratory, urinary tract and ear infections, asthma, eczema and childhood diabetes. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding, with lower risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. In addition, most women who breastfeed get their figures back quicker and easier following the birth.
The HSE has made a range of support materials available for women considering breastfeeding, including; ‘Feeding your Baby’ and ‘Breastfeeding your Baby’. All information materials can be obtained from HSE Health Promotion Departments and Health Centres throughout the Country at www.breastfeeding.ie or by calling the HSE Infoline on 1850 24 1850.
Visit www.breastfeeding.ie for more information about Breastfeeding and National Breastfeeding Week, including:
Expert breastfeeding support is also provided by voluntary organisations such as La Leche League www.lalecheleagueireland.com, Cuidiú - Irish Childbirth Trust www.cuidiu-ict.ie and Friends of Breastfeeding www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie
For further information, please contact:
HSE National Press Office
t: 01 6352836