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 week old Ryan O’Donnell. Picture: Alan Place
73 local organisations sign up for ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ an initiative to go countrywide
Limerick has become Ireland’s ‘breastfeeding-friendly’ capital thanks to a hugely successful and ground-breaking campaign, the first of its kind in the country.
In just three months following Limerick City and County Council’s launch of the project with a number of partners including the HSE and Healthy Ireland, ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ has encouraged a total of 73 Limerick establishments, including hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, sports clubs, community organisations and churches, to sign up for the campaign.
The drive is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding mothers, babies and their families by encouraging businesses, organisations and communities to become ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’.
Such has been the success of the campaign that other local authorities around the country will be rolling out ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ in their counties/cities.
The initiative has also been shortlisted for an All-Ireland Community and Council awards, the winners will be announced next month.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr James Collins said he is delighted and proud the initiative has taken off and says that there is still plenty of opportunities for more organisations to join.
He said: “Our ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ campaign has been a huge success. This reflects very positively on Limerick that is proactively supporting mothers and their babies. One of the hallmarks of Limerick’s success has been its inclusiveness – how welcoming it is – and this is another great example. I want to thank the businesses and organisations who have already signed up and I’m hopeful and positive many more will do the same. Signing up is simple, cost-free and can make a great difference.”
“This campaign is really about supporting our mothers, children and families. It was never intended as a breastfeeding promotion campaign but rather a campaign focusing on making sure the environment around babies and mothers makes breastfeeding as normal and comfortable as it should be.”
Mo Foley Walsh, the coordinator of Healthy Limerick, said the initiative has proven so successful it is now being rolled out to other local authorities.
“It is wonderful how Limerick has taken this campaign into its heart. I’m happy and proud of its success which is achieving its goal of nurturing a culture of connectedness, between agencies, communities and families across the city and county. It is a testament to the community of Limerick that this exciting initiative has been successful and that it will now be rolled out in other counties thanks to Healthy Ireland.”
Follow the campaign online with the hashtags #breastfeedingfriendlylimerick and #LKWorkingTogether.
For information packs for We’re Breastfeeding Friendly, email [email protected]. To see who has signed up and to learn more about We’re Breastfeeding Friendly, go to Limerick.ie and type breastfeeding in the search box.
The aim of ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly” is to:
- 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.
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 all fall under the breastfeeding friendly banner.
The initiative is very simple and cost-free for a business, group or organisation to sign up to. In order to join, participants must fulfill certain criteria.
Firstly, breastfeeding is 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.
Mother’s breastfeeding on the premises will never be asked to move to another area or stop breastfeeding. Finally, the public is made aware of participation through the display of a ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ window sticker and/or poster that will be provided by Limerick City and County Council to those participating.
Generally, mothers who breastfeed their babies out and about doing 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 those babies may be breastfed there
It is not a requirement that your premises be adapted in any way. 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 (The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition and National Childbirth Trust, 2018) 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 a back for support
At the HSE’s dedicated website – Breastfeeding.ie – there is a range of supports available for breastfeeding mothers and their families, including details of local support groups in your area and the free, Ask our Expert live chat service provided by Lactation Consultants.
To see who has signed up and to learn more about We’re Breastfeeding Friendly, go to www.Limerick.ie and type breastfeeding in the search box.
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