Friends of Breastfeeding

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.

Breastfeeding Challenge Results

What a FABULOUS day for Breastfeeding in Ireland!! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this such a wonderful day. To the mothers and babies who took part, the family and friends who showed up to support them and to everyone who supports breastfeeding in Ireland, Thank You. Two of our Irish sites (Cork and Dublin) are currently ranked first in the world in the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge. To check out pictures from our Dublin, Cork and Limerick venues, click on the links below.