Breastfeeding seminars

Athlone’s mum promotes National Breastfeeding Week in Portiuncula

Olivia Somers, lactation consultant with Lisa Dowling and baby Harriet from Athlone, marks National Breastfeeding Week at Portiuncula University Hospital.

An Athlone mother helps promote National Breastfeeding Week at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.

Lisa Dowling and baby Harriet are pictured above with Olivia Somers, lactation consultant at Portiuncula University Hospital.

National Breastfeeding Week is October 1-7 and the hospital says it’s a great opportunity to promote the importance of breastfeeding and the many positive health benefits it provides to both mother and baby.

This is also an opportunity to provide information on breastfeeding supports and to let parents and future parents know where they can access this information and support.

This year’s theme is “Expert help every step of the way”. Olivia Somers, lactation consultant at Portiuncula University Hospital, said: “Breastfeeding gives babies the best start to a healthy life and protects both mother and baby. It is the optimal source of nutrition for newborn babies. Breastfeeding is a learned skill acquired through education, observation and experience.

“While this is the most natural way to feed babies, it is also a skill that mum and baby learn in the first few days and weeks. Many breastfeeding mothers need a ongoing support to continue breastfeeding and it is important that they know that expert help is available to them every step of the way in their breastfeeding journey.

“Knowing what to expect when starting breastfeeding is essential. This knowledge can be acquired before the baby arrives by attending our “Breastfeeding Readiness Workshops” which take place twice a month and can be booked online at

“A walk-in support group meeting takes place on the second Thursday of each month from 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. in room 6 of the education center, Portioncule university hospital.

“Virtual support clinics are held twice a month on Wednesdays from 10-11am where mothers can access from the comfort of their own home to seek help and support from the lactation consultant. Times and details are available to mothers when they leave hospital and booking is available online at

“Ask the Expert – a live chat and email support service that provides access to a breastfeeding expert is also available on 7 days a week. It’s a great resource for women at every stage of their breastfeeding journey,” she concluded.