CES begins new project to improve breastfeeding rates in Ireland

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CES is delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Health Research Board (HRB) to deliver a project in partnership with University College Cork, which aims to understand and improve support for breastfeeding in Ireland.

Breastfeeding is proven to be important for the health and development of every generation, yet breastfeeding rates in Ireland remain stubbornly low compared to other OECD countries. Improving this is a key public health priority.  

This interdisciplinary project seeks to make choosing, and continuing, to breastfeed as easy as possible for women in Ireland, by understanding the barriers and identifying solutions to improve support and protection for breastfeeding at all levels.  

CES is part of an international team which aims to bridge the gap between the evidence on the value of breastfeeding and the implementation of effective and sustainable changes needed to make breastfeeding the easiest choice for women.  

CES’ work will focus on the social, economic and political levels to understand and positively influence a cultural shift towards valuing breastfeeding as the biologically normal way of caring for infants.  

The team will adopt a 3600 approach to shift the focus away from pressure on individual women, and towards addressing government policy, legal protections, health systems, communities and workplaces, social and cultural knowledge and attitudes, familial support, health professional education and skilled breastfeeding support for women.  

A 5-pronged approach to tackle the current barriers to breastfeeding will involve the people who will ultimately benefit from the work such as Mums, Dads, future parents, community organisations, health systems, health professionals in practice and in training.  

This groundbreaking project aims to elevate the importance of breastfeeding as a key public health issue and influence sustainable population-level change to benefit the health and wellbeing of the nation. It has the potential to have wide-reaching impact not just across the island of Ireland but beyond, through sharing knowledge on how to tackle a perpetual public health issue of global importance.  

The project commences in June 2024 and aims to complete in May 2028.

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