Limerick Breastfeeding Friendly campaign first of its kind in Ireland

Limerick Breastfeeding – Limerick has today become Ireland’s ‘breastfeeding-friendly’ capital thanks to the launch by Limerick City and County Council of the first of its kind in Ireland. Pictured at the launch of ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ were, Dearbhla Conlon, Aherne, Abbeyfeale Co. Limerick and 7-week old Siun Aherne with Karen O’Donnell and 12 weeks old Ryan O’Donnell. Picture: Alan Place

Limerick Breastfeeding Friendly campaign first of its kind in Ireland 

Limerick has today become Ireland’s ‘breastfeeding-friendly’ capital thanks to the launch of the first campaign of its kind in Ireland. 

Limerick City and County Council, supported by Healthy Ireland, today launched ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ – a campaign that aims to help improve the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding mothers, babies and their families by encouraging businesses, organisations and communities to become ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’.

In seeking to meet those aims, the campaign will:

  • Support business, community and public service settings to welcome breastfeeding mothers and families
  • Support breastfeeding mothers and families to be active in the community
  • Support parents during the key life transition of becoming a parent
  • Support a strong culture of connectedness, – between agencies, communities and mother, family, baby, and community.

By signing up to ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’, private, community and statutory organisations across Limerick can show they welcome and support breastfeeding by some easy and zero-cost actions.

Any business, community group or organisation that has premises open to the general public is eligible to join.

Hotels, community centres, sports and recreation facilities, restaurants, libraries or health centres can all fall under the breastfeeding friendly banner.

Launching the initiative, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr James Collins said he is delighted and proud to be part of it.  “The ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ campaign is really about our youngest citizens, our babies across all of Limerick. It is not a breastfeeding promotional campaign but rather a campaign that is focussing on the environment around babies and mothers being friendly and welcoming to breastfeeding.  It’s also about making those in that environment fully at ease with breastfeeding.”

“Think of the many public places and spaces that new parents may go in and out of – customer services here in this building, health centre, GP surgeries, pharmacies, hotels, restaurants, community centres, sports and leisure facilities, libraries, offices, indoor play centres, churches/ places of worship and so on.  We’re Breastfeeding Friendly is seeking to make all of these friendly to breastfeeding.”

Speaking at the launch, Sarah Keane, a breastfeeding mother from Coonagh, welcomed the initiative.  “I’m really pleased that Limerick City and County Council have had the foresight to develop this campaign.  This is a hugely positive and progressive move that will benefit new mums and babies in Limerick.  And it sets a great example for other cities and counties,” she said.

Limerick Breastfeeding – Limerick has today become Ireland’s ‘breastfeeding-friendly’ capital thanks to the launch by Limerick City and County Council of the first of its kind in Ireland. Pictured at the launch of ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ were, Karen O’Donnell and 12 weeks old Ryan O’Donnell. Picture: Alan Place

The Limerick breastfeeding initiative is very simple and cost-free for a business, group or organisation to sign up to. In order to join, participants must fulfil certain criteria.

Firstly, breastfeeding must be acceptable in all areas of their premises open to the public.  All staff members and volunteers are made aware and are supportive of the business, community group or organisation participating in the ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ campaign.  

Mothers breastfeeding on the premises must never be asked to move to another area or stop breastfeeding. The public is being made aware which premises are taking part through the display of a ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ window sticker and/or poster that will be provided by Limerick City and County Council.  It is not a requirement for premises to be adapted in any particular way.

Businesses, community groups or organisations can choose to sign up individually or across a number of premises.

Margaret Quigley, Director of Midwifery, UL Hospitals Group in Limerick said the Limerick breastfeeding, “is a brilliant campaign and we are wholeheartedly behind it.  I’m delighted to say that breastfeeding initiation rates in Limerick are improving steadily and now hitting 60% which is extremely positive. There are lots of HSE led support groups in Limerick, and others like La Leche League and Cuidiú for women to get help, at what is a very special time in their life as a new mother. But this extra layer to encourage support for mothers and babies has the potential to make the experience around breastfeeding better for babies, mothers and those using public spaces.”

Follow the campaign online with the hashtags #breastfeedingfriendlylimerick and #LKWorkingTogether. For FREE information packs for We’re Breastfeeding Friendly, email [email protected] or find it here

Generally, mothers who breastfeed their babies out and about do so with ease. Some mothers say they feel a little self-conscious breastfeeding out and about the first time, particularly when latching baby on.

More often than not, a mother will breastfeed her baby and other people around her will not take notice.

A key part of successful breastfeeding is feeding baby when baby wants to be fed (“feeding on demand”).

Research tells us the two things that make mothers feel comfortable when breastfeeding out and about (The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition and National Childbirth Trust, 2018):

  • A welcoming, helpful attitude from staff
  • Other patrons knowing and accepting that babies may be breastfed there
  • Many mothers are comfortable breastfeeding anywhere when out and about.

Some mothers may choose to have a little privacy, but the careful positioning of chairs may be enough.

Research tells us the most important issues for mothers are:

  • Easy access for, and safe place to park, a buggy
  • Easy access to a clean place to change their baby’s nappy
  • A comfortable chair with back support

 

For more information on breastfeeding and breastfeeding supports available, click here

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