CHO Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) Sligo announces its plan to become Breastfeeding Friendly

11th October 2021
HSE Media Statement

CHO Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo)
Sligo announces its plan to become Breastfeeding Friendly

An exciting new initiative, Sligo’s “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly” was launched to coincide with National Breastfeeding Week.

Breastfeeding publically in Ireland is protected by law and no person or premises can deny you the right to feed your child. ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ Sligo aims to improve the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding mothers, babies and their families by encouraging businesses, organisations and communities to go the extra mile and become even more ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’.

Minister Frank Feighan, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing & the National Drugs Strategy launched the initiative. He said "I am really pleased to be launching 'We're Breastfeeding Friendly' in Sligo, and particularly during National Breastfeeding Week. The theme of the week is 'Every Breastfeed Makes a Difference' and making breastfeeding welcome everywhere has a key part to play in making it easier for mothers to breastfeed while going about their day. I want to encourage businesses, organisations and communities to sign up and to make 'We're Breastfeeding Friendly Sligo' a success for everyone".
Speaking at the launch, Katie Loftus, a breast-feeding mother from Sligo welcomed the initiative. “I'm really pleased that Sligo Town and County have adopted this campaign. This is a hugely positive and progressive move and it makes me much more confident that I can feed anywhere when I am out and about with my baby.” This sentiment was echoed by another breastfeeding mum, Lorna Hanmore, also from Sligo, who also said that “It’s so important for mothers to see other mums breastfeeding, to make this normal.”

By signing up to “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Sligo”, private, community and statutory organisations across Sligo can show they welcome and support breastfeeding by some easy and zero-cost actions. Any business, community group or organisation that has premises open to the general public is eligible to join. Hotels, community centres, sports and recreation facilities, cafes, restaurants, libraries or health centres can all fall under the breastfeeding friendly banner.
Cara O’Neill, HSE CHO 1 Head of Health and Wellbeing acknowledged the importance of the project by saying “creating an environment that is welcoming to mothers who breastfeed is a really positive initiative”.

Interested participants can sign up for the campaign but must fulfil certain criteria. Participant’s premises must be acceptable for breastfeeding in all areas that are open to the public. Staff members must be supportive and aware of the campaign and breastfeeding mothers should not be asked to move or stop breastfeeding.

Liz Martin, Senior Health Promotion and Improvement Officer, CHO1 Health and Wellbeing stated that the campaign raises awareness of the need to make breastfeeding mothers welcome and at ease. The onus will be on participants to make the public aware that their premises are taking part in the campaign by displaying ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ window sticker/ poster that will be provided by Lifestart Supporting Parents (https://lifestartsp.ie/).

The project is being funded by Healthy Ireland, a Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society.

A key focus of Healthy Ireland is on building relationships and strengthening partnerships between government departments, local authorities, Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), education providers and the wider business, voluntary, community and statutory sectors. We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Sligo is an example of such partnership working. “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly” started in Limerick in 2018 and has now begun to spread countrywide.

Kate Donnelly, Manager of Lifestart Supporting Parents who will host this initiative, invited all businesses and organisations who are open to the public in County Sligo to become breastfeeding friendly.

Breastfeeding Friendly Katie Loftus and baby Louis

Breastfeeding Friendly steering group and Minister; L -R: Maeve Wittington Steering Group, Liz King Steering Group; Liz Martin Steering Group; Cara O'Neill HSE Head of Health and Wellbeing CHO1; Minister Frank Feighan: Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing & the National Drugs Strategy; Kate Donnelly Steering Group; Sarah Murphy Project Coordinator.

ENDS

Media queries to;

Kate Donnelly

Phone: 086 8276055

Email: manager@lifestartsp.ie

Last updated on: 11 / 10 / 2021