National Breastfeeding Week is being marked from today in the MidWest.
Headed by the UL Hospital Group and Professor Roy Philip, research titled Maternal & Child Nutrition, has been published looking into two decades of breastfeeding data in the local region.
The group of consultant’s over this research have outlined 10 priorities for elevating MidWest and national breastfeeding rates to levels between 90-95%, as just 61.4% of live births here in 2020 initiated breastfeeding.
Professor Philip highlights a number of issues that could be causing the low rates within the MidWeat.
These include cultural issues like negative social perception and acceptance, and the fear of embarrassment among mothers.
The researchers found that these general national cultural attitudes have also negatively influenced breastfeeding among mothers of immigrant populations.
Other themes identified include education and a lack of exposure to breastfeeding in child and adolescent education.
There were also challenges posed by the free availability of formula feeds in hospitals immediately after birth, as well as the lack of breastfeeding advertisements, and conflicting advice.
Prof Philip and his colleagues remain confident that change is possible, and the ’10 priorities’ they identify to help improve the situation include:
Advocating for all advantages of breastfeeding, Establishing cross-cultural peer support groups
Improving staffing levels in maternity hospitals and neonatal units to support breastfeeding.
Professor Philip says that investment in the support systems in maternity hospitals is needed if we’re really serious about bringing ourselves to the levels of international partners.