Belfast Telegraph

Call for donor milk bank in policy initiative on breastfeeding

A human donor milk bank should be established in the Irish Republic, the Labour Party has said.

The proposal was one of a series measures outlined in a policy document calling for a new approach to breastfeeding in Ireland.

The only donor bank on the island is in Co Fermanagh.

It enables mothers who are not breastfeeding to donate milk to feed sick and premature babies.

Labour has also called for more funding for breast feeding support groups and an increase in educational activity.

In terms of the workplace, Labour says mothers should have the right to take breaks to breastfeed or express for up to one year after the birth of their child, up from the current six months.

The party said employers should also ensure they provide appropriate areas for mothers.

The document was launched to mark World Breastfeeding Week 2017.

Senator Kevin Humphreys said: "Having heard first hand from mothers the difficulties they encountered in getting the supports they needed when breastfeeding, over the last few months we have consulted with a range of groups to find out what can be done to better support mothers and babies."

Labour Party member Loraine Mulligan said she might have given up breast feeding if it was not for the support of a trained lactation consultant.

"Unless the issue is put on the political agenda and raised in public discourse existing obstacles will remain," she said.

"It will take a political impetus to ensure the necessary measures and resources are put in place.

"Labour is taking an important step to raise awareness and debate.

"Women should be able to make an empowered choice about whether or not to breastfeed, the decision should not be determined by a lack of supports."

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