Press Release

Minister Corcoran Kennedy welcomes World Breastfeeding Week

Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy today welcomed World Breastfeeding Week, which takes place from August 1st to 7th.

Speaking today, Minister Corcoran Kennedy said, “We know that breastfeeding has many advantages for babies and their mothers, and I’m glad to say that there has been an increase of over 9% in the number of women breastfeeding in Ireland between 2005 and 2014. Breastfeeding your baby will boost their immune system and help prevent obesity and high blood pressure in later life, as well as reducing the risk of a number of illnesses when they’re young. It’s also all the food and drink your baby will need for their first six months. I breastfed my own children, and I know how difficult it can be, but there is lots of help available. The HSE’s “Every Breastfeed Makes a Difference” campaign is ongoing, and and I would encourage anyone who wants to know more to visit www.breastfeeding.ie where the Ask Our Expert service provides information and support on all aspects of breastfeeding.”

Further Information

  • The health benefits of breastfeeding for babies include less risk of
  • Stomach upsets
  • Coughs and colds
  • Ear infections
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma and eczema
  • Obesity (being very overweight)
  • High blood pressure later in life

Breastfed babies also have:

  • Better mental development
  • Better mouth formation and straighter teeth

The health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers include:

  • Less risk of breast cancer
  • Less risk of ovarian cancer
  • Less risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis) in later life
  • Stronger bones in later life

The percentage of women recording any breastfeeding was 47.7 per cent in 2005, increasing to 56.9 per cent in 2014; an increase of 9.2 per cent in the proportion of women recording any breastfeeding over the decade.

The percentage of women exclusively breastfeeding has increased from 44.1 per cent in 2005 to 46.6 per cent in 2014; an increase of 5.7 per cent in the proportion of women recording exclusive breastfeeding over the decade.

For Irish women, there was an increase of 4.1 per cent in the proportion of women recording exclusive breastfeeding over the decade. Mothers from the UK, EU, Asia and Africa all record a decrease in the proportion of women recording exclusive breastfeeding at discharge over the decade.

Breastfeeding was more common than artificial feeding among mothers aged 30 years or more.

Mothers in the 35–39 year age groups reported the highest exclusive breastfeeding rate at 50.8 per cent.

Less than one-fifth (18.9 per cent) of infants born to mothers aged under 20 years were exclusively breastfed.

HPO Perinatal Statistics Report 2014