The Midland Regional Hospital at Portlaoise is officially baby friendly.
Last week Director of Nursing Maureen Nolan accepted their first Baby Friendly National Award, which recognises the support they give to new mothers, particularly in the area of breastfeeding.
“We have seen a 12 percent increase in the numbers of mothers opting to breastfeed. That is a result of the support and continued dedication of all staff who are there for the mother at a time which can be difficult and emotional.” Ms Nolan said.
Former patient Catherine Hawe and her baby Ellen attended the event along with other new mothers and their babies. She spoke about her positive experence at the hospital.
“Every girl is anxious and nervous once they have given birth, there is so much to take in and if you decide to breastfeed that is an added pressure. The hospital staff were so supportive to me with Ellen and I never felt alone. I feel really at home in your company and I think that is why you are getting this award today. Congratulations to everyone”, Catherine said.
Dr Genevieve Becker, National Co-ordinator of the initiative, presented the award, noting that Ireland has a higher rate of births in Baby-Friendly hospitals than many other European countries,
“Last year approximately 38,000 newborn babies left Irish hospitals breastfeeding, giving them a healthy start in life as well as the health and economic importance for their mothers, families and wider society”, Dr Becker said.
Jacqueline McNulty also accepted a Bronze award for a Breastfeeding Supportive Workplace on behalf of the hospital, recognising the support shown to staff who wished to continue breastfeeding when they returned after having a baby.
The presentations were attended by Dr Doyle, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Siobhan Hourigan, HSE National Breastfeeding Coordinator and Dr Ibrahim, Consultant Paediatrician all commended the hospital staff for their dedication and professionalism.
Terry Cotter, Clinical Midwife Specialist/Lactation at the Maternity Unit was a driving force for the hospital to achieve the award.
”We have put a lot of work into getting this award and it is testament to each and every staff member from the clinical, management and support services. We ensure that all staff are aware that the mother is breastfeeding so they can facilitate this process as much as possible. This might just be keeping her dinner warm for her until she is ready to eat. It is important that we continue and advance with this work in line with our national and international colleagues.” she said.