News & Media

New mothers need more breastfeeding supports

15 April 2019

Statement by Cllr Deirdre Kingston
Spokesperson for Equality

Labour Equality Spokesperson Cllr. Deirdre Kingston has called on the Minister for Health and the HSE to redouble efforts and deliver on commitments made in the National Breastfeeding Strategy.   

"Ireland has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, and there is a direct link between the lack of support for new mothers and the low rates taking it up. It is really concerning that the HSE is not even reaching the targets they have set themselves. 

"The fact that Ireland will not be able to increase its rates of breastfeeding even by the conservative targets of 10% set in the five years National Breastfeeding Strategy is a lost opportunity."

"It is also an indication of the lack of support for women. There needs to be a serious investment in breastfeeding in this country. At the moment it is a minuscule percentage of the overall health budget even though investment in breastfeeding now would result in longer-term health benefits."

"The commitment to appoint lactation consultants to all maternity and paediatric hospitals by the end of 2018 was not met by the HSE. There seems to me to be a lack of any political will to see this improved upon. Access to lactation consultants should be a standard part of every new mother's core health care package."

"We know that breastfeeding has massive health benefits for newborns but ultimately achieving higher rates of breastfeeding will only ever become reality when supports are put into place and the funding is allocated by the Minister."