Sabina host ‘Latching-On’ morning as part of National Breastfeeding Week 2019

Fri 4th Oct, 2019 | 10:30

Friday, 04th October, 2019

Sabina speech at ‘Latching-On’ morning as part of National Breastfeeding Week 2019

Sabina speech at ‘Latching-On’ morning as part of National Breastfeeding Week 2019

You are all so welcome. It’s lovely to see all those beautiful mothers and their beautiful happy breastfed babies. I am looking forward to hearing from our speakers who are at the front face or breast of the situation regarding breastfeeding in Ireland , now it is good that the numbers have increased but it seems at a slower rate then we could have expected, despite it being well known that breastfeeding is the very best we can do for our babies.

In the UK the numbers are 81% and in the Scandinavian countries they are over 90%. Improving the uptake is our big task. It is disappointing that when mothers are breastfeeding in hospital that many do not continue. 
It is essential for the good of the country,that conditions in places of employment in the private-sector as well as in the public sector make it possible for women to breastfeed exclusively for six months.

The aim is that we reached the maximum number, up to the 90%, who breastfeed exclusively for six months with no other food or liquids, and that they can then begin to wean by complementing the breastmilk gradually with solids.

The task is educating everyone women of course, but men too on the understanding of the importance of breastfeeding to the health not just of the baby now and in its future but that of its mother and therefore the health of society as a whole and indeed of the planet.
There are many obstacles to be overcome in getting information out.
Educating women on the whole practice of breastfeeding, including the preparation of the breasts in the weeks before birth so the nipples are toughened so that they are not so tender for some, that they hurt. People laugh when I recall that in my time, back in the 70s we used methylated spirits to prepare the nipples, before proprietary lanolin creams became available in the chemists.

Women need to be convinced of the many ways that breast milk is the very best they can give their baby and to know the benefits of passing on the mothers immunities for the prevention of illness in their baby and later on for the prevention of childhood obesity.
A mother needs practical guidance on what to expect, On latching on, on how long each  feeding will last and how often baby will probably need to feed in the day. She needs to know about,  and recognise baby’s growing spurts at the different stages. -three weeks, six weeks, six months et cetera. This is the time baby will demand to be fed what seems like all day so that it brings in the extra supply of milk its growth requires.

They need to know if they get a blocked milk duct or what  is called a Lactation  mastitis, that this is an obstruction of the milk flow and can probably be treated by removing the milk by massaging the breast towards the nipple while the baby is sucking. I found that when I got a blocked duct from maybe getting a chill, starting massaging from under the armpit and strokingon towards the nipple cleared it.

I think that all doctors and obstetricians should know how to inform their expectant mothers and mothers on breastfeeding and its benefits, and it’s knowhow and be able to direct them towards a midwife or to prenatal classes that include preparation for breastfeeding.

I would like to thank Dr. Donal O’ Shea, HSE Lead for Obesity who is so committed to women’s health. He was unable to attend this morning but sent the following statement.
" A key part of a healthier future for Ireland is getting awareness of the importance of breastfeeding built into our Wellbeing Curriculum in Secondary Schools and into our undergraduate healthcare professional courses at third level. We need the same positive messaging around breastfeeding to be given at all stages of education. Its importance goes way beyond just having a healthier weight, the long-term psychological benefits and general immune system benefits are major positives for general health and wellbeing"