La Leche League providing support for local mothers during Breastfeeding Week and throughout the year

(Above) Members of the local branch of the La Leche League at a recent outdoor meet-up.

With National Breastfeeding Week (October 1-7) getting underway today, the local branch of La Leche League is looking forward to being able to connect with breastfeeding parents in real life, beyond the screen.

Member Ciara, who is a mother of two, echoed the sentiments of many Leaguers, who are finally able to meet up in person: “A longing to be held in a supportive way, to sit in a room with other mothers, who will nod and say I hear you, you’re doing a great job, keep going and it will pass”.

La Leche League, which has been providing free breastfeeding support since 1966 to families and health professionals, actively moved their network of leaders and families to a virtual space during lockdown and is now gently re-emerging to face-to-face support.

Many groups, including the Mullingar branch, are currently hosting in-person, outdoor meet-ups, which was not possible for the best part of 18 months.

“Having a baby in lockdown. A memorable blur, a test of resilience, an important reminder that we mother in a community,” remarked a local La Leche League member during a Zoom meet-up.

In 2020, La Leche League's leaders had over 69,000 contacts with mothers and parents, supporting them to reach their breastfeeding goals. La Leche League also continue to provide support on many social media platforms.

“Breastfeeding support over WhatsApp messages was a comforting, friendly reminder that there were others having similar days,” Ciara says.

From the earliest days of the pandemic, La Leche League International has stated a clear message that nursing dyads should not be separated, and that breastfeeding should be supported. La Leche League International’s Covid-19 and breastfeeding online resources, appearing in seventeen languages, were viewed over four million times.

Speaking ahead of National Breastfeeding Week, local mother Sharon Beehan, who is the PRO of La Leche League Ireland, said:

“It is normal to have questions and concerns about breastfeeding when it is so new to both baby and you. More than ever, expectant and new parents are determined to breastfeed, but struggle to access correct information and breastfeeding support. La Leche League Ireland is proud to be fully committed to its ongoing support of breastfeeding families all over Ireland. Many virtual meetings will continue into the future alongside in-person, community-based meetings, support on social media and by phone. Anyone pregnant or breastfeeding can access free and accurate breastfeeding information. Each virtual and in-person meet-up is guided by at least one internationally accredited La Leche League leader, providing evidence-based, up-to-date information as well as practical support for mothers,” she said.

La Leche League groups are listed on  Instagram @lalecheleagueofireland Twitter @LaLecheIreland