Breastfeeding increases during the pandemic as Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise hosts events to support mums

Supports during pandemic highlighted in National Breastfeeding Week 2020

Leinster Express Reporter

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The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise celebrated the first day of National Breastfeeding Week, the theme for this year is ‘Supporting Breastfeeding in the Pandemic’ under the main theme ‘Every Breastfeed Makes a Difference.’

Beginning on Thursday, October 1, the hospital hosted a number of events during the week on-site and virtually. Mothers have also sent in their breastfeeding experiences for a storyboard to be displayed in the hospital for all staff to read.

Maureen Revilles is Director of Midwifery at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise said

“Parents who welcomed new babies in 2020 never expected to do so during a pandemic. We understand the past seven months have been hugely challenging for families in accessing face-to-face breastfeeding support in communities. I want to acknowledge the efforts by our team here in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise who have continued to provide virtual and phone support during this time.

"Midwives have responded to the needs of women using digital platforms to support women in their choice to breastfeed. This new approach to education and support during the Covid 19 pandemic has proved to be accessible to women and has been very positively evaluated,” she said. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured from left to right: Mary Phelan, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Lactation; Ita Kinsella, Assistant Director of Midwifery; Mary Emily Miller, CPC Maternity; Lynda Byrne, Maternity Ward Clerk; Claire Fitzpatrick, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Lactation; and Emma Mullins, CMM 3.

Claire Fitzpatrick is the Clinical Midwife Specialist in Lactation in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

"The theme for this year is ‘Supporting breastfeeding in the pandemic’ under our main theme ‘Every breastfeed makes a difference’. We work very closely in celebrating this week with the National Healthy Childhood programme and mychild.ie.

"Celebrating National Breastfeeding Week is very different this year due to the Pandemic Covid-19, we have had to change the way we celebrate it just like we have had to change and adapt in the way we provide support, continuing to be there but just in a slightly different way,” she said. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured from left to right: Ita Kinsella, Assistant Director of Midwifery; Claire Fitzpatrick, Clinical Midwife Specialist in Lactation; mum Judy with baby Colclough; Mary Emily Miller, Clinical Placement Co-ordinator Maternity; and Maureen Revilles, Director of Midwifery.

The ‘Ask Our Breastfeeding Expert’ service on mychild.ie recorded a 57 per cent increase in demand over recent months as parents of babies born during COVID-19 restrictions sought online advice.

The hospital says www.mychild.ie site includes extensive breastfeeding information, videos and guides as well as the ‘Ask Our Breastfeeding Expert’ service plus wider pregnancy and child health information. A team of lactation consultants provide free personalised advice to users by email and live chat.

The ‘Ask Our Breastfeeding Expert’ service on mychild.ie recorded a 57 per cent increase in demand over recent months as parents of babies born during COVID-19 restrictions sought online advice.

For more information on this service, click here.

The HSE has said that new mothers diagnosed with COVID-19 can continue to breastfeed while taking precautions such as washing hands before and after touching their baby and using any equipment such as breast pumps and by wearing a face covering while feeding.

The HSE adds that there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through breast milk and breastfeeding is encouraged as normal.