Mayo CYPSC, in partnership with Healthy Mayo, Mayo County Council and Mayo Chambers are launching “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Mayo”, a breastfeeding initiative set up to improve the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding mothers, babies and their families through the development and promotion of breastfeeding friendly businesses, organisations and communities.
The national average rate of breastfeeding, measured at the Public Health Nurses first visit, in 2019 was 57.9% and for Mayo this rate was 50.2%.
Although improving, there is still a way to go for breastfeeding initiation rates and duration rates to align with our European counterparts and for breastfeeding to become the cultural norm in Ireland.
The “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Mayo” initiative, which is based on a campaign that was run successfully in Limerick, is funded by Healthy Ireland. It is anticipated that this initiative will encourage breastfeeding in Mayo by creating supportive and welcoming environments for breastfeeding mothers.
The campaign want to hear from businesses and organisations across Mayo who wish to get involved: simply log onto the website to register your interest.
Libby Lambe, Child Health Programme Development Officer for the HSE in Mayo/Galway/Roscommon said: "The launch of 'We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Mayo' is yet another step in the right direction to build on community and societal support for Breastfeeding. I hope that this initiative continues to gain more traction into the future, as more and more local business, community groups and public services visually display their support of Breastfeeding.’
The main aims of “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Mayo” initiative are to: (1 ) Support business, community and public service settings to welcome breastfeeding mothers and families, (2 ) Support breastfeeding mothers and families to be active in the community, (3 ) Support parents during the key life transition of becoming a parent and (4 ) Support a strong culture of connectedness - between agencies and within communities (and of course, between mother, family, baby and community )
This initiative comes at a time when this subject is receiving a renewed focus. According to Anne Marie McDermott, Director of Public Health Nursing Mayo:
She said: "There have been many positive developments to support breastfeeding recently such as the announcement of an additional 24 Lactation Consultant posts across Maternity and Community Settings nationally, the expansion of virtual online breastfeeding supports and the ‘Ask the Expert’ live chat function available on mychild.ie, the upgrading of Parent and Infant Rooms in Primary Care centres to support breastfeeding, and the planned return of Face to Face Breastfeeding Support Groups."
Breastfeeding has many positive benefits for mother and baby. It is important for optimum growth and development of the baby, whilst providing bonding and nurturing between mother and baby.
Research shows that breastfed babies have decreased risk of childhood obesity and chronic diseases, and for the mother decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes. Breastfeeding is cost-effective and convenient – it is at the optimum temperature therefore no sterilization is required. And it is environmentally friendly too!
In conclusion, Libby Lambe has simple advice for mothers who are breastfeeding: "Remember, take one day at a time, each breastfeed makes a difference and you and your baby will find what works for you. Breastfeeding support is available to pregnant women or women who are already on their breastfeeding journey, from their Maternity Unit, GP, Practice Nurse, Public Health Nurses and the Voluntary Organisation such as La Leche League, Cuidiú, Friends of Breastfeeding and other breastfeeding mothers."
'We’re Breastfeeding Friendly' want to hear from groups and businesses who would like to get involved – simply contact [email protected] for more information or visit the website https://www.mayo.ie/healthy-mayo/Breastfeeding.