National Breastfeeding Week

Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge 2015!

Mahon Point (71 of 101)



Calling all breastfeeding mothers, are you ready to rise to the Challenge? On Saturday, October 3rd 2015 at 11:00am, breastfeeding mothers in Ireland will gather together in venues across the country to take place in the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge, a worldwide initiative that aims to highlight the importance of breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.  This year will mark the fourth year that Ireland will participate in the event. The first Challenge event in Ireland took place in Mahon Point Shopping Centre in Cork in 2010 where there were 106 children and 98 mothers, Last year’s event saw over 500 mothers in Ireland sitting down to nurse their children together.

The Challenge first took place in the Canadian province of British Columbia in 2001. In 2012 there were 3,934 children in 9 countries who took part in the Breastfeeding Challenge. In both 2011 and 2012, Ireland took both first and second place for the highest number of nursing babies latched on simultaneously on one site in Dublin and Cork respectively. In 2011, there were 8 sites in Ireland with 392 babies, and in 2012 there were 12 sites with 536 babies. Our numbers have been growing each year, with 18 venues around the country in both 2013 and 2014, and over 500 mothers and children taking part.

This year, Friends of Breastfeeding are hoping to have an even greater number of sites with even more mothers, children and babies!

So far there are Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge events being hosted in the following sites:


Spraoi agus Sport, Carndonagh, CO. Donegal

Costa Coffee, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

The Exchange, Castle Ave, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

Esquires Coffee House, Airside, Swords, Co. Dublin

Frangos, Dundrum, Dublin 16

Red Cow Morans Hotel, Dublin 24 (Attendees of Zacharys journey fundraising event only),

North Wexford,

Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co. Kildare,

Nenagh, Co. Tipperary,

ALCI Conference, Co. Tipperary (for conference attendees only),

Mahon Point Food Court (Upper Level), Cork,

Costa Coffee, Carraroe Retail Park, Co. Sligo,

Huckleberry Den, Navan, Co. Meath,

Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath,

The Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone, Co. Roscommom,

Central Library, Lady Lane, Waterford City,

Drombanna Day Care Centre, Limerick,

North Wicklow Country Market, Newcastle Community Centre, Co Wicklow

Kilmore Hotel, Dublin Road, Cavan


Pre registration is now closed.

Please not, it i not a requirement to have pre registered! Anyone who wants to attend a challenge venue can register at the venue on the morning.












(Belated) Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Well, you know what they say, better late then never!  Friends of Breastfeeding would like to send out a GINORMOUS thank you and Happy Holidays to all of the businesses who donated their time and products to help make the 2011 Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge in Ireland a massive success.  We wish you all the best in the New Year and look forward to working with you again in the future.

In no particular order,  our thanks go out to;

The Bridge House Hotel
Jackie Quinn – Baby Sign
Portarlington Swimming Pool
Rachel Price – Baby Massage
Slieve Bloom Garden Centre, Clonaslee
Bridge House Hotel
County Arms Hotel
Clare Boyle IBCLC
Annette Walsh – Baby Massage
Birr Equestrian Centre
Paula Mitten Yoga
Jumping Jacks
Mammy Diaries
La  Leche League
Prints 4 Gifts
Bright Horizons
Altered Images Hair and Beauty Salon
McCabes Medical Centre
Haute Mama
Nando’s MP
Baby Sign
Meadows & Byrne
The Retreat
Easons MP
McElwee Pharmacies
Prints 4 Gifts
Tullamore Credit Union
Pumpkin Patch MP
The Maldron Portlaoise
Brown Thomas Café MP
Balcony Books
Friends of Breastfeeding
Liberty Grill
Omniplex MP
Tiny Talk
Sam McCauley Chemist
Jungle World
Shield Health (Multimam)
Nelsons Products
Patrick Swan Photography and Design”
Galvins Menswear
Deasy Photographic
The Maldron PL
Hairspray Hairsalon
Babywearing Ireland
Mary Tighe – Gentlebirth Cork
John Tarrant Photo
Oh Baby! Magazine
Cast a Memory
Moira Glennon – Baby Massage
Brenda Murphy & Paula Mitten – Mum & Babies Yoga
Mary Toole – Coombe
Maura Lavery – Rotunda
Catherine McCann – Holles St
Bright Horizons
Ann McCrea – The Human Milk Bank

The End? Or Just the Beginning…

(Created October 8th 2011)

According to the calendar, today marks the end of National Breatfeeding week.  For the last 7 days,  there’s been a mobilization across the country to raise awareness of breastfeeding and the supports available for breastfeeding mothers in Ireland.

From supermarkets in Galway to an IKEA in Ballymun, women have gathered together to nurse their children and meet other breastfeeding mums.  From a University in Limerick to a hotel in Gort they have helped to share information and dispell the myths surrounding breastfeeding.

On the 1st of October, Irish mothers made history as they sat down to simultaneously nurse 392 children at 8 sites around the country as part of the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge.  Two of these sites, Dublin and Cork,  are currently leading the pack as the largest gatherings in the world.  Not bad for a country with the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe!

Today though, marks the end of it all.  Down go the posters and the fun Facebook competitions, away go the raffles and the extra special coffee mornings.  Today we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and hang up our hats for another year.

But what about tomorrow?

What happens to the babies born next week?  And the week after that?

This year in Ireland, approximately 75,000 babies will be born to mothers around the country.  About 55%  of these women will choose to breastfeed.  By 12 weeks post partum, the number of babies being exclusively breastfed will have dropped to around 19% and by 6 months of age, only 11% of these babies will be receiving any form of breast milk at all.  Of the 75,000 babies born this year, only 2.4%  of them can expect to be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives as per the recommendations of just about every health organization on the planet.

81% of Mothers who give up breastfeeding by 12 weeks of age will wish they had breastfed for longer.

We want to help these women feed their babies in the way they want.

So here at Friends of Breastfeeding we’ve decided to ignore the Calender.  This year our celebrations for National Breastfeeding Week are only the beginning, the beginning of an entire  year of celebrating breastfeeding.

Every day.

Every week.

We will do our best to try and be there for every mother who wants to breastfeed her child.  To provide information about the support services available around the country and to continue trying to foster a postive breastfeeding culture in Ireland.

Because for us, today does not mark the end.  Today, for hundreds of mothers and babies across Ireland, it’s just the beginning.  And we want to be there to support them, every step of the way.

What We Did

Breastfeeding Challenge

Thanks to The Echo for their great great coverage of the Breastfeeding Challenge in City West Dublin

As of the end of Friday 7th October, National Breastfeeding Week is over for another year and here at Friends of Breastfeeding, we’re delighted with our contribution to proceedings. There was so much going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if you missed something, so here’s a summary:

 To kick off National Breastfeeding Week, we co-ordinated the Irish leg of the International Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge to have as many babies latched on simultaneously  as possible, across eight venues. Individual tallies were:

– Citywest with 146 babies
– Mahon Point with 145 babies
– Tullamore with 45 babies
– Limerick with 17 babies
– Galway with 12 babies
– Ballina with 6 babies
– Cuidiu in Kilkenny with 17 babies
– Babywearing Ireland in Dublin International Hotel with 4 babies

This gives us a grand total of 392 babies participating for Ireland and puts us in first and second place in Citywest and Mahon Point for biggest venues. We also ranked second in the World, for most mothers participating in the country, woohooo! Go us!

At the Challenge, we launched our breastfeeding video “Diary of an Infant” which tells the story of a breastfed child and their family, from birth to toddler and childhood.  You can check it out here.

We also initiated our campaign to have the current law, which gives working mothers an entitlement to breastfeeding breaks up to six months, extended until their child is two years old, to bring the policy in line with the current recommendations by the HSE and WHO to breastfeeding to age two and beyond.  Mothers signed postcards for the campaign which will be sent to James Reilly, Minister for Health and other relevant departments.

Many Maternity hospitals around the country had information stands to mark National Breastfeeding Week. Friends of Breastfeeding provided breastfeeding information packs and posters to the following hospitals:  Our Lady of Lourdes, The Coombe, The Rotunda, Holles St, Tallaght Hospital, Waterford Regional Hospital, Portlaoise Hospital, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Limerick Regional Hospital and Galway University Hospital. Our information packs were also provided to many Public Health Nurses around the country.

Our blog hosted a new guest post each day, proving hugely popular with contributions from writer and poet Nikki Magennis, writer Orla Shanaghy, dad of a breastfed baby Sean, writer Padraig O’Morain,  author Victoria White and former Friends of Breastfeeding council member, Jo Murphy.

We’d really like to thank lots of people who made all of this possible. There were lots of people involved, too many to name! We’d particularly like to thank the co-ordinators for each venue: Jolene Keating in Dublin, Annette Walsh and Maria Moulton in Cork, Sarah Sherlock in Tullamore, Laura Griffin in Limerick, Claire Kelly in Galway, Sinead Hanley in Ballina, Sue Jameson in Kilkenny and Tania Lawlor  for Babywearing Ireland. We’d like to thank Dr. Jack Newman and David Coleman for their video messages of support and Siobhan Hourigan, Angie Benhaffaf, Mary Bird, Vicky Mooney and Caitriona Jones, Mayor of South County Dublin for speaking at the Challenge venues and supporting the events.

A massive thank you goes to all of the people who took part in and supported all of these activities, the mums, dads, babies, toddlers, older children and extended family. With everyone doing a little bit, we can achieve so much.

For Friends of Breastfeeding, it’s onwards and upwards! We have lots more we hope to achieve by the end of this year, and even bigger plans for next year, so watch this space. J