Tag Archives: mothers

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 – Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers

World Breastfeeding Week took place recently, and this year’s theme “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers”, highlighted the importance of providing support to breastfeeding families.


Infant feeding is one of the most important decisions that new families make. Evidence is clear that breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed an infant. Research shows that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life are more likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, including ear infections, diarrhoeal diseases, asthma, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, obesity and respiratory illnesses. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers.


Despite most mothers wanting to breastfeed, many are met with multiple and complex barriers that keep them from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. Support and encouragement from all angles can make success possible for mothers who wish to breastfeed. Negative attitudes and practices of the mother’s closest support network can pose a sizeable barrier, making it difficult for mothers and babies to successfully breastfeed. “Learning how to breastfeed takes time and patience for new mothers and infants. It is important to remember that families, friends, healthcare providers, employers, childcare providers, communities, and even the media play a crucial role in mother’s overall success with breastfeeding,” said Margaret Murphy, President of the Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland.


Appropriate breastfeeding support can build a mother’s confidence with breastfeeding. It is critical that breastfeeding families be supported by their community. This support can be expressed by healthcare providers adopting policies and practices that assume breastfeeding as the normal feeding method for infants, by employers providing a private place and flexible work options to express breastmilk during the work day, or by childcare providers talking to new families about how they support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding peer counsellors, mother-to-mother support groups, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) certificants work in communities and can provide a wealth of knowledge to breastfeeding families.

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 – Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers


An IBCLC is a certified healthcare professional with special knowledge and experience assisting breastfeeding families. The IBCLC can work in a variety of environments from hospitals to private practice to community health settings. Many work with employers and businesses to help establish worksite lactation support programs. Mothers can also find a local IBCLC to help them with breastfeeding questions and concerns by visiting the “Find a Lactation Consultant” Directory here on the ALCI website.

World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated globally by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

ALCI Welcomes Recent ERSI Report

The ERSI Perinatal Statistics Report for 2011 was released on the 20th December 2012. It had some good news on breastfeeding and reported that 55% of babies recorded any breastfeeding in 2011, compared to 51% in 2007 and 44% in 2002. A reported 47% of babies were exclusively breastfed, compared to 45% in 2007 and 41% in 2002. The rising rate of breastfeeding provide a healthy start for babies, aid long term health, and reduces national health care costs.


The report found that breastfeeding was more common than artificial feeding amongst mothers aged between 25 years or more, with the highest proportion of breastfeeding mothers in the 30–34 year age group, of whom 50.2 % reported that they were breastfeeding.   The rise in breastfeeding in Ireland may be attributable to the increased population of non-Irish mothers who are more likely to breastfeed. Babies of Irish-born mothers and mothers under 25 years of age were reported in the 2011 statistics as least likely to be breastfeeding highlighting the major influence of the mother’s cultural and social background. Greater availability and access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) would assist in meeting the need for on-going support and promotion of breastfeeding in these mothers. Increased recognition of the importance of breastfeeding support in the early days combined with interaction between breastfeeding support organisations and the Health Service could help increase rates across the board.


An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a globally recognised qualification that identifies a member of the health care team who has acquired specialist skill, made an in depth study of breastfeeding and passed an international exam. IBCLCs work to promote, support and protect breastfeeding. The over 170 current International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) in Ireland have played a key role in the increase in breastfeeding rates. IBCLCs work in hospitals, community health services, education, private practice and national health promotion programmes. They work individually with mothers and groups as well as in training other health professionals and in policy implementation. Contact with an IBCLC can often be instrumental in getting breastfeeding off to a good start and can help mothers who may be having difficulties to solve them and continue breastfeeding.