The Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland (ALCI) held its’ annual conference in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick. The opening address to delegates was given by Green Party Councillor in Galway West, Pauline O’Reilly who highlighted the importance of breastfeeding in meeting sustainable development goals. The conference kicked off National Breastfeeding week (the first week of October every year) and marked 30 years of ALCI. Over 200 delegates from around Ireland attended these included International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), midwives, public health nurses, GPs, voluntary breastfeeding supporters, as well as the HSE’s National Breastfeeding Coordinator Laura McHugh.
The keynote speaker at the conference was IBCLC and author of The Breastfeeding Atlas, Kay Hoover who spoke about breastfeeding multiples, oversupply, and painful nipples during breastfeeding. There were also some very impressive Irish speakers who highlighted some of the important research being done around breastfeeding in Ireland. Dr. Denise O’Brien Ph.D., assistant professor and head of midwifery in UCD spoke about her research on women’s choices in childbirth,
Dr. Tanya Cassidy from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at DCU provided insights into her research on the ethnography of milk banking, and Dr. Elizabeth Quinn PhD., from Trinity College Dublin, gave a presentation on her qualitative research on women’s experiences of breastfeeding support groups in Ireland.
There were also several workshops over the two days on topics that included induced lactation, physiotherapy for mastitis, starting out in private practice, GDPR and colostrum harvesting. The conference was brought to a close on Saturday afternoon by ALCI President Sue Jameson, IBCLC. Sue thanked delegates for all the work they do to support breastfeeding in Ireland, awarded scholarships to a number of members preparing to qualify as IBCLCs and presented prizes to winners of the poster competition. The conference finished on a high note and with a sense among delegates of the importance of working together across disciplines to support and protect breastfeeding in Ireland.
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