Nursing mothers in Galway are invited to take part in a breastfeeding challenge at the weekend in a bid to set a world record.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge, which kicks off at Aras Moyola at NUI Galway on Saturday at 10am, is part of a worldwide annual event.
The Irish charity Friends of Breastfeeding co-ordinated the Irish leg of the challenge in eight venues nationwide which saw nearly 400 children breastfeeding simultaneously. Despite the fact that Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, Irish mothers and babies defied the statistics to clinch first and second place in the event.
Dublin, which had 146 nurslings, and Cork (which was only just behind with 145 ) were triumphant as the top two sites in the world for 2011.
On Saturday the pressure is on to beat this record as a total of 10 venues across Ireland, including Galway, Limerick, Dublin and Cork take part.
The local organisers are urging nursing mothers and their families to participate in this free fun day out.
“There will be free tea, coffee and homemade treats, local business stalls, activities for the kids, a big raffle and, of course, the Big Latch On at 11am when all mothers and babies will be counted as they breastfeed simultaneously with mothers and children across the world,” says a spokesperson for the organisers.
“The challenge is an annual event which is staged worldwide to raise public awareness of the need for proper information and support for breastfeeding families and the normalisation of breastfeeding in society. It originated in the Canadian province of British Columbia back in 2001 with 856 babies and their mothers sitting down to breastfeed simultaneously at 26 different locations. The challenge has since grown to become an annual global event.”
Jolene Keating, the general secretary of Friends of Breastfeeding, says the organisation’s aim is to foster a positive breastfeeding culture in Ireland and raise awareness about breastfeeding support options.
“The mothers and babies took part in the 2011 challenge surrounded by their fathers, grannies and older siblings in what was very much a family event. We look forward to doing it all over again this year.”