AS part of National Breastfeeding Week (1-7 October), Portlaoise hospital hosted an afternoon for local mums and babies. At the event, the Friends of Portlaoise Hospital presented director of midwifery Maureen Revilles with a breast pump and two armchairs suitable for mothers, particularly if they are breastfeeding.
The theme of the week was ‘Every breastfeed makes a difference’.
Tommy Timmons from the Friends said: “We are delighted to be able to provide these much-needed supports for mothers and their babies. Thank you to the people of Portlaoise for their continued support for the Friends of Portlaoise Hospital.”
Ms Revilles said: “I would like to thank all the mothers for attending our awareness event. We are also very grateful to the Friends of Portlaoise Hospital for their generous donations. We know that skin-to-skin contact for at least an hour immediately after birth helps get breastfeeding off to a good start.”
The midwives in the hospital would like to let mothers and mothers-to-be as well as their families know about the importance of skin-to-skin contact after birth in helping to get breastfeeding off to a good start and what supports are available on mychild.ie.
To highlight the importance of breastfeeding, all women who gave birth in Portlaoise hospital up to yesterday, 7 October, received an information pack and a reusable water bottle.
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding highlighted over the part week included helping baby adjust to life outside the womb; calming and relaxing for both mother and baby; regulating baby’s temperature and keeping them warm; getting mothers familiar with baby’s signals; and bonding as well as passing on good bacteria from the mother’s skin to baby’s skin to help protect against infection.
Ms Revilles said: “Having a baby is a life-changing event. For many mothers, breastfeeding is a new skill that takes time and practice to master. We want to let mothers know about supports available to help them to breastfeed for longer, because the longer a mother breast feeds, the greater the health protection for her and her child.”