Breastfeeding legislation must be priority in time ahead - Gildernew
Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew and Health Spokesperson Pat Sheehan MLA have met with Department of Health and PHA representatives to discuss progress on developing Breastfeeding legislation and efforts to raise greater awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.
Speaking following the meeting Michelle Gildernew said:
"This week is the HSE National Breastfeeding Awareness week so it is particularly important to meet with DoH and PHA representatives to discuss what needs to be done to improve our breastfeeding rates.
"Ireland as a whole has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe, and this must change.
"Breast feeding has been shown by numerous studies to be the healthier option for both mother and baby. Breastfeeding protects babies and their mothers against a wide range of illnesses including respiratory and urinary tract infections, allergies, sudden infant death syndrome and childhood leukaemia.
"Effective public awareness campaigns and targeted legislation are two actions that need to be progressed to encourage women to breastfeed and, more importantly, to provide support when they choose to do so."
Pat Sheehan added:
"Breastfeeding Legislation and awareness raising is not only important in encouraging and supporting women to breastfeed, but ultimately it is about normalising breastfeeding.
"The stigma of women breastfeeding, particularly in public areas, needs to end. This is a vital part to improving our breastfeeding rates."