HSE Annual National Breastfeeding Week 2017

National Breastfeeding Week is taking place this week, 1st to the 7th of October 2017. The campaign message from the HSE is ‘Every Breastfeed makes a Difference’.


The HSE would like to let mothers and mothers-to-be, and their families, know about the breastfeeding supports that are available. These include the free Ask our Expert service and live Web Chat provided by Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). The breastfeeding videos on www.breastfeeding.ie provide guidance on positioning and attaching baby; expressing milk; what to expect in the early days; and tips from other mothers.


HSE Breastfeeding Facebook page provides a community support for mothers. There are over 300 breastfeeding support groups around the country. Some of these groups are organised by Public Health Nurses (PHNs), while others are organised by Lactation Consultants in the hospitals or trained breastfeeding support volunteers all who are, or have been, breastfeeding mothers.  They are a great source of information, support and friendship.  


Events and coffee mornings have been taking place around Ireland to mark National Breastfeeding Week to give information to families on local supports. Details of events taking place from Carrickmacross to Bantry and Ennis to Swords are listed on www.breastfeeding.ie.

In Ireland, 58% of mothers are breastfeeding their babies on discharge from maternity hospital (HSE, 2017). In the first few days and weeks at home, mothers may experience challenges which often prompt them to stop breastfeeding sooner than they planned. 

“The Institute of Public Health in Ireland is this week publishing a report on breastfeeding on the island of Ireland, which will show that that many breastfeeding mothers would like to have breastfed for longer. We want to support mothers in Ireland to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed for longer” said Siobhan Hourigan, HSE National Breastfeeding Co-ordinator.  

“A revised model of the Baby Friendly Initiative is being developed currently, and we will start implementing it next year. The Baby Friendly Initiative, and the WHO/UNICEF '10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding' which underpins it, is an important element in how we deliver a consistent positive experience to all mothers. Our goal is to ensure that best quality breastfeeding practices and supports are in place across all 19 maternity hospitals in order to achieve the desired increase in breastfeeding rates”

Last updated on: 04 / 10 / 2017