Seanad debates

Monday, 15 February 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Fiona O'LoughlinFiona O'Loughlin (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the almost €20 million that Kildare received this morning in respect of much-needed bridge rehabilitation and road works.

I wish to refer to a report that we received recently from Bainne Beatha on a breast is best policy and examining ways in which Irish breastfeeding support services could be improved. Reading the report was interesting. According to it, Irish maternity hospitals have not fully implemented the 2016-26 national maternity strategy or the HSE's 2016-21 breastfeeding action plan. A study published in The Lancetin 2016 found that Ireland had the lowest breastfeeding rate of 27 developed countries. The most recent figures, which are from 2019, showed that 57% of babies received breast milk within a day of being born but that this dropped to 43% at three months. Why is this the case? It would seem from some of the research done by Bainne Beatha that there is not enough support for mothers after they have had their babies. Many go to hospital to have their babies with the intention of breastfeeding but find that they do not get support. There are only 30 full-time equivalent lactation consultants in the public system and no dedicated lactation consultants in five maternity hospitals. In 16 counties, there are no dedicated lactation consultants working in community settings. A number of recommendations have been made. I ask the Leader to take this matter to the Minister for Health.


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