Good news, breastfeeding mamas! Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has today announced that €1.58M has been allocated to the HSE, to fund an additional 24 Lactation Consultants, offering invaluable support to maternity hospitals across the country.
These Lactation Consultants are a vital resource and support for new breastfeeding mothers. As we know, Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. However, help from these additional healthcare professionals treating both common and serious nursing problems, should increase the number of mothers who successfully initiate breastfeeding and continue to breastfeed significantly.
Announcing this additional funding, Stephen Donnelly said, “This year, Healthy Ireland and Sláintecare are making a significant investment towards implementing the National Breastfeeding Action Plan.”
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) May 11, 2021
“We all know how important it is that our children get the best possible start in life and this is something that all government partners have prioritised in the Programme for Government. Ireland has a culture of bottle feeding and in order to improve child and maternal health, as well as reducing childhood obesity we need to improve our breastfeeding rates.”
“This funding will provide for Lactation Consultants across hospital and community settings to ensure timely skilled assistance for mothers who wish to breastfeed. It will also support enhanced training, skills and knowledge to frontline staff,” the Minister said.
While this is a wonderful step in the right direction, Stephen Donnelly’s announcement post on Twitter was met with many mothers and healthcare workers sharing their scepticism at how effective these additional consultants may be.
“For this to be truly effective, they need to be available 24-7, and be present in delivery suites to support mothers who want to breastfeed in the ‘golden hours’,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Can u make sure these consultants can visit patients on the wards! No good for any mother who has C section or epidural if they can’t move from the bed to attend the class down the hall being held only on a Tuesday! (True story!),” another replied.
It’s also worth noting that ‘fed is best’ above all else. No mother should feel like a failure for not being able to breastfeed. However, for those who wish to breastfeed their little ones and are in desperate need of support or advice, these new Lactation Consultants will be a precious resource, which Ireland is in dire need of.