Who We Are

Updated October 2012

Friends of Breastfeeding works to ensure that women in Ireland achieve their desired breastfeeding experience. We network to connect women in Ireland who want to breastfeed with their local support system. We work to build communities of supportive friends, family and health professionals – “friends” of breastfeeding.

Background

Friends of Breastfeeding was formed by a group of mothers who met on online parenting forums. Many of these mothers found the internet to be the only place they could access true support and reliable information and advice about breastfeeding. The need for two things was clear to everyone involved – better understanding of breastfeeding across the general public, and improved access to good breastfeeding support in Ireland for women who want to breastfeed their babies.

Mission Statement

The focus of Friends of Breastfeeding is to foster a positive breastfeeding culture in Ireland and raise awareness about breastfeeding support options.  Friends of Breastfeeding provide information about different breastfeeding support options, so that mothers can make an informed decision on whom to ask for breastfeeding support.

Aims

1 . To protect and support the practice of breastfeeding in Ireland

2 . To highlight/raise awareness about breastfeeding support options for mothers, mothers-to-be, and families

3 . To raise awareness about how families/communities in Ireland can be supportive of the breastfeeding woman and her baby, and foster appreciation for breastfeeding in our community

4 . To promote all affiliated online resources for information and support for the breastfeeding mother and for health professionals

5 . To raise our profile and thus the profile of breastfeeding

6 . To raise public awareness about breastfeeding

7 . To liaise with other breastfeeding-related organisations, in Ireland and abroad.

Philosophy

Core Values

1.    A culture that values breastfeeding

2.    A circle of support and encouragement

3.    Breastfeeding information and understanding in the community

4.    Excellence in our health care system

5.    Breastfeeding practice recommendations – National and international

6.    Protecting breastfeeding

7.    Valuing Human Milk

8.  Working towards the Restoration of experience and expertise

9.  Facing Challenges

10. Breastfeeding is beautiful!

11. Overcoming unfamiliarity

A culture that values breastfeeding
Friends of Breastfeeding as an organisation aspires to encourage a culture where breastfeeding is truly valued for its health attributes, its convenience and the special relationship and enjoyment it gives to mothers and babies.

A circle of support and encouragement
Friends of Breastfeeding seeks to build a warm circle of support and encouragement for breastfeeding mothers that includes the support of her family, her friends, her community and Irish society generally so that she can breastfeed and parent with confidence.

Breastfeeding information and understanding
Our members will work towards achieving better sources of breastfeeding information and a greater understanding of its importance amongst the general community. This will include the challenging of common myths and misinformation generated in our culture which has allowed breastfeeding rates to fall to alarmingly low levels over a number of generations. Accurate information, realistic expectations and the skills to overcome common pitfalls will build breastfeeding confidence.

Excellent breastfeeding care in our healthcare system
All mothers are entitled to appropriate expertise and easy access to up-to-date, quality breastfeeding information and support from our healthcare system. A mother’s confidence in her ability to meet her baby’s need for milk and comfort has a major impact on her breastfeeding and parenting experience.

Breastfeeding practice recommendations

Friends of Breastfeeding wholeheartedly endorse the recommendation backed by the WHO, the HSE and the Department of Health and Children that recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the baby shows signs of readiness and need for solids, about the middle of the first year after birth and encourages the continuation of breastfeeding until the child weans naturally, whenever that occurs.

Protecting breastfeeding
Our organisation also supports the protection of breastfeeding by the full implementation of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly and will work toward its achievement.

Human milk
Human milk is the ultimate designer baby food. Every mother’s milk is tailored uniquely to her own baby’s needs at all ages and stages of development that gives the perfect balance of nutrients to ensure optimum growth and development as well as significant protection against illnesses.

Working towards the Restoration of Experience and Expertise
Friends of Breastfeeding will work toward a future culture in Ireland where a tradition of breastfeeding has been restored where breastfeeding experience and expertise surrounds new mothers, from within their families, among their friends and from their local communities. A tradition that is backed up by the expert and timely support of the health services.

Breastfeeding is beautiful!

Overcoming Unfamiliarity

We work in a positive way to address the many social, psychological and cultural barriers to breastfeeding in order to help people in Ireland to overcome unfamiliarity with breastfeeding.

©2012 Friends of Breastfeeding. Content may not be copied or reproduced without prior consent unless otherwise stated