Question to the Minister for Health (Mr James Reilly, TD)
To ask the Minister for Health the supports in place to support breastfeeding and if he will consider a marketing campaign to promote breastfeeding and the associated benefits; and if he will make a statement on the matter.- Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 18th September 2013.
The promotion of breast-feeding is one of my Department’s public health priorities. Breast-feeding rates in Ireland have increases gradually over recent years and our goal is to increase this rate further. In 2011 47% of babies were exclusively breast-fed on discharge from Irish maternity units, with a total of 55.2% receiving any breast-milk (ESRI, 2012). There is a vast body of evidence to support the importance of breast-feeding for the short and longer term health of the child and mother.
In 2005, the Department of Health and Children published Breastfeeding in Ireland: A five year strategic action plan . A National Breastfeeding Strategy Implementation Committee was appointed in 2007. In 2011, 41.76% of births occurred in the 8 Baby Friendly designated hospitals in the Republic of Ireland. In 2012 the HSE adopted an Infant Feeding Policy for Maternity and Neo-natal Units based on the 10 Steps of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. The Strategic Action Plan is currently being reviewed to inform the development of a new national breast-feeding strategy.
There are nearly 200 support groups throughout the county and contact details are available on Support is also available from Public Health Nurses, Midwifes, Lactation Consultants and GPs.