Northern Ireland

Ulster GAA supports breastfeeding mums

Ulster GAA has become the latest organisation to join the PHA's Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme
Ulster GAA has become the latest organisation to join the PHA's Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme

ULSTER GAA has joined forces with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to show support to breastfeeding mums.

It has signed up to the Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme - a programme that aims to increase the number of premises which actively show support to women who are breastfeeding. The PHA said the new membership represents a huge support network to breastfeeding mums and will involve more than 300 clubs.

In joining this scheme, Ulster GAA has agreed that breastfeeding is acceptable in all areas of a club’s premises open to the general public and that a mother who is breastfeeding will not be asked to move to another area or stop breastfeeding.

All club stewards or staff on duty will be aware of the scheme and supportive of breastfeeding mums.

Michael McArdle from Ulster GAA said: "We pride ourselves in the GAA on being an inclusive organisation for all and we are delighted to join the PHA Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme.

"By embracing the scheme we wish to send a message of support to breastfeeding mums in our communities that our clubs and our grounds will offer a safe and welcoming environment to feed their children."

Dr Hannah Dearie from the PHA said: "Thankfully it’s rare for a mum to experience any open confrontation or critical comment or behaviour about them breastfeeding in public that causes them to feel uneasy.

"However, breastfeeding-friendly places provide that extra bit of support and make it clear to everyone that they actively welcome breastfeeding.

"The Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme is an initiative that aims to provide supportive environments for mothers to breastfeed when they’re out and about in public places, particularly those who maybe feel reticent.

"The scheme, which dates back to 2005, is there to reassure women who want to breastfeed that there are businesses and organisations out there who have taken proactive steps to welcome breastfeeding mothers and show solidarity with them.

"Breastmilk provides babies with all the nutrients they need to grow and develop, along with antibodies, hormones and stem cells to help protect them now and in the future.

"It’s important that we do all we can to support more parents to choose to breastfeed their children and to ensure that they are helped to do so.

"Initiatives like Breastfeeding Welcome Here help to normalise breastfeeding and create the right conditions for mothers to breastfeed in comfort, wherever they are.

"Making it easier for mums to choose breastfeeding will help improve breastfeeding rates in Northern Ireland."