Gildernew calls for legislation to protect breastfeeding mothers
Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has called on Health Minister Robin Swann to bring forward legislation to protect mothers breastfeeding in public.
The Fermanagh South Tyrone MP said:
“This week marks annual Breast-Feeding Awareness week and worryingly continuous reports have shown the North to have the lower breast feeding rates than Britain and the 26 Counties.
“It is crucial that we use this week to send a clear and unambiguous message that breastfeeding is both natural and normal.
“Breast feeding has been recommended to mothers by the Public Health Agency in the North and the World Health Organisation.
“Studies have shown that breast feeding has benefits for both the mother and babies, including reduced risks of certain infections.
“In 2017, my party colleague Michelle O’Neill as Health Minister tasked her department to bring forward legislation to ensure mothers have a right to feed their children with confidence and without interruption in a public place.
“Unfortunately, due to the collapse of power sharing this legislation was not brought forward.
“With the restoration of the institutions, I am calling on Health Minister Robin Swann to carry on the work of Michelle O’Neill and to bring forward this legislation to protect mothers breastfeeding in public.
“I would also ask the Department of Health to investigate enhanced ‘code monitoring’ arrangements and other measures to curtail aggressive marketing policies by the formula industry in legislation.
“We all have our part to play in challenging the stigma attached to breast feeding, it is crucial that the Health Minister plays his part.”