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29 May 2022

Longford set to be breastfeed friendly

Cllr Ureumu Adejinmi

Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District, Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi

Longford is set to become breastfeeding friendly following support for a motion by Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi at the monthly meeting of Longford County Council.

Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi has called on Longford County Council to sign up for the ‘We’re Breastfeeding Friendly’ initiative and invite local businesses to do the same.

“The reason for this motion was I was contacted by the Breastfeeding Mums group in Longford and I was made aware of an incident where a mum was asked to stop breastfeeding her baby and was invited to go to the baby changing room to breastfeed and she was not allowed to breastfeed outside of there,” said Cllr Adejinmi.

“I think the way mums are made to feel embarrassed of feeding in public and the fear of negative attention is something that is putting women away from breastfeeding and for the mum who is bottle-feeding her child in public, there’s no one turning their nose down on it.

“People that choose to breastfeed should be encouraged as much as possible. It is a hard enough job nurturing a newborn and to have that additional challenge is something to be guarded against.

“So such a breastfeeding initiative would support mums who choose to breastfeed and to continue the journey after they have the wrap-around supports in the hospitals,” she said.

The most recent figures from the Irish maternity indication system show that in 2019, 62% of mothers had initiated breastfeeding after birth. Within 72 hours of discharge that drops to 42%, councillors heard.

At three months the figures are 31.2% and by six months just 6% of mothers here will be breastfeeding.

The recorded figures for Longford mothers breastfeeding at three months is 23.4% and therefore below the national average.

Embarrassment at feeding in public and fear of negative attention has repeatedly been cited in Irish studies as a factor in women choosing not to breastfeed.

“While the situation is extremely complex, a breastfeeding friendly initiative can only serve to support those mothers who do choose to continue their breastfeeding journey after discharge from hospital.

“Longford has a vibrant community of mutually supportive breastfeeding mothers who have maintained online support groups and chat groups throughout the pandemic.

“It is well recognized the profound impact that public health restrictions have had on pregnant and expectant mothers,” said Cllr Adejinmi.

“As these groups begin to reconvene in person it is a timely move for Longford to adopt the ‘We’re breastfeeding Friendly’ initiative and commit to supporting our local breastfeeding mothers.

“Businesses across Longford have long welcomed groups and individuals informally in this manner and a formal recognition would serve to reinforce this openness and welcome.”

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