Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Promotion, Mary Butler TD has said that a potential funding cut to maternity hospitals to promote breastfeeding for new mothers is deeply short sighted, and should be reversed.
Deputy Butler was commenting after reports in the media suggested that the HSE would be withdrawing €50,000 per year, under the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, to maternity hospitals that are taking part in a programme to promote breastfeeding among new mothers.
“Where suitable, breastfeeding is good for the mother and good for the child.
“Ireland has exceptionally low levels of uptake of breastfeeding among new mothers, and this programme was designed to provide mothers with the necessary information to prepare them to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding won’t suit every new mother but it is right that the HSE provides hospitals with the resources to at least give new mothers the ability to make an informed decision.
“Just 35% of our maternity hospitals are recognised as being baby-friendly, and freezing funding, even if it is to allow for a review, is very short-sighted.
“Minister Byrne must intervene, and ensure that this funding continues. It’s a vital part of maternal and neonatal health promotion, and shouldn’t be cut,” concluded Butler.