Breastfeeding seminars

Portlaoise Hospital offers lifesaving new aid to nursing mums in Laois

The new equipment at Portlaoise Hospital will provide vital support to local women who may have breastfeeding problems, according to the HSE.

A release says the first device is therapeutic ultrasound that provides micro-massage and heat that treats mastitis by unclogging milk ducts, while reducing pain and swelling.

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise has also acquired a state-of-the-art laser device that dramatically speeds up the healing of cracked skin.

A local woman treated by the breastfeeding support team at MRHP approved the advances.

“I have had three laser treatments which have really supported my breastfeeding journey. The service is amazing and has made such a difference to me. I can now feed without pain.

“The two lactation consultants at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise could not have been more supportive, accommodating and informative. I cannot stress enough the importance and value of this service,” she said. .

Claire Fitzpatrick is a clinical lactation midwife at MRH Portlaoise.

“Laser treatment is non-invasive, emits no heat or sound, and is not painful, but it does speed wound healing and reduce inflammation, which is very helpful for women who are on the verge of to stop breastfeeding due to pain from cracked nipples. For some moms, it helps prolong breastfeeding,” she said.

Margaret Sheeran, who is also a clinical lactation midwife at MRH Portlaoise, spoke highly of the women.

“I am constantly very impressed with the local women who continue to express their milk so they can breastfeed even though their baby is in an incubator at Portlaoise Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit. Breastfeeding doesn’t always mean a baby on the breast. Sometimes it can happen for women in a different way,” she said.

The HSE said women attending MRH Portlaoise to give birth can now return for breastfeeding support from a fully qualified breastfeeding specialist midwife for up to six weeks after the birth of their baby.

A parenting crafts coordinator will take up a position in October at the hospital to help women and their partners prepare for childbirth and parenthood, which includes raising awareness about breastfeeding and empowering mothers consider it their first choice for infant feeding.

The HSE says all of these measures are in line with the theme of this year’s HSE National Breastfeeding Week, which is themed around expert help every step of the way.

Ita Kinsella is the Director of Midwifery at MRH Portlaoise.

“At MRH Portlaoise, we have developed a holistic range of supports to help mothers and babies learn this new skill. If a mother can breastfeed for a short time, it will be helpful, and the longer you breastfeed, the better the protection for mother and baby. We want every mother to know about all the free supports available to help her breastfeed longer if she wishes. It’s great to see breastfeeding rates increasing,” she said.

Michael Knowles, Managing Director of MRH Portlaoise says the hospital is delighted to provide these important new treatments for women who are having breastfeeding problems in Portlaoise.

“We fully support the work of our entire team of midwives to provide this key service to local parents and their newborn babies,” he said.

As well as the help provided to MRH Portlaoise, the HSE said parents can access a range of online resources such as virtual breastfeeding groups and, which offers practical advice on breastfeeding and live chat “Ask our expert” and breastfeeding via email. assistance service, available 7 days a week.

To join the HSE parenting and breastfeeding community, visit the HSE Facebook page and hse_mychild on Instagram #hsemychild #breastfeeding #nationalbreastfeedingweek

More information about breastfeeding from the image below.

Portlaoise Hospital midwives with equipment are left to right: Claire Fitzpatrick – Clinical Lactation Midwife, Ita Kinsella, Director Midland Regional Midwifery Hospital Portlaoise, Margaret Sheeran , clinical midwife specialist in lactation.

Your breast milk protects your baby against many diseases and conditions. It is designed to meet all your baby’s needs. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help fight infection. Your breast milk contains essential enzymes, hormones and antibodies. These are vital for the normal growth, development and good health of your baby. Breast milk is suitable for your baby and his stage of development. It changes as your baby grows to meet his needs and protect him from disease.

When you come into contact with a virus or bacteria, your body will make antibodies to protect itself. These antibodies pass into your breast milk so your baby is also protected. Despite years of research, science still can’t replicate this.

Breastfeeding is good for you too, it:

helps your uterus (womb) return to its normal size faster

Helps you bond with your baby

lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes

· saves you time and money

· is convenient, no need to carry bottles and formula with you on the go

burns calories and can help you regain your pre-pregnancy weight

Top tips for breastfeeding moms

Breast milk is readily available

No purchase necessary and at the right temperature! It’s convenient, no other feeding equipment needed and less to stash in your bag every time you go out with your baby.

Build your confidence

Some mothers feel embarrassed to breastfeed in public the first time, especially when putting the baby to the breast. It gets easier over time. Most people won’t notice you’re breastfeeding because it looks like you’re cuddling your baby.

Bringing your partner or a friend with you until you become more confident can help. Ask if there is a dedicated feeding area if you want more privacy.

Wear a loose top over a tank top so you can lift the outer layer and pull down the strappy top. Wearing a nursing bra can also help you open it quickly and attach your baby to it.

Going to a support group and observing other mothers breastfeeding can help you gain confidence. Find your local breastfeeding support group at

Prepare to breastfeed when you are pregnant

Classes are available at your hospital to learn what is normal for breastfeeding and what to expect in the first days and weeks after birth. Here you can learn how to manually express your breast milk, for example. These courses are available online and we hope they will return in person as soon as possible. You can also find lots of advice on preparing to breastfeed on

Seek support to continue breastfeeding

Staying connected with others while breastfeeding will help you master the skill and deal with the bumps along the way. Maternities, public health nurses and volunteer support organizations offer in-person, virtual and telephone support after your baby is born. If additional support is needed, lactation consultants provide specialized help to overcome breastfeeding difficulties. Find details of support available in your area on

Spending lots of skin-to-skin contact with your baby increases your breast milk supply and helps bond and comfort your baby.

Do you have a question about breastfeeding?
The HSE’s ‘Ask Our Breastfeeding Expert’ service is available free of charge at

Talk to lactation consultants online for information and advice on any part of breastfeeding via email or live chat. The live chat service is available Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm on


*Breastfeeding rate (HSE figures)

Ø 63% of mothers try to breastfeed as their first feed after birth in the hospital

Ø 4.8% increase in the number of babies breastfed at first visit by a public health nurse to 58.8% in 2021, from 54% in 2019.

Ø Increases seen in a number of HSE areas across the country; Donegal, Sligo Leitrim, Galway, Mayo, North Tipperary, Kerry, North Cork, South Lee, Wexford, Dublin South West, Kildare West Wicklow, Laois Offaly, Longford Westmeath, Louth, Meath and Dublin North.

Ø 7.3% increase in the number of babies breastfed at 3 months, to 42.3% in 2019 compared to 35% in 2015.

Role of the midwife or nurse who feeds/breastfeeds the infant

o Public Health Midwives and Nurses are the frontline staff available in the HSE to support breastfeeding from the prenatal period with the provision of breastfeeding preparation and prenatal classes.

o Midwives help mothers establish breastfeeding in the first days in hospital. Public health nurses, many of whom are midwives and pediatric nurses, continue to support breastfeeding mothers throughout the postnatal period. Each mother is visited by a public health nurse within 72 hours of being discharged from hospital. Breastfeeding mothers receive follow-up support as needed.

o The role of infant feeding/lactation nurses and midwives in HSE services is to provide a specialist support service to mothers who need additional support to breastfeed, e.g. gestational diabetes, caesarean section, premature birth, when the baby is sick or has a tongue tie. These staff members also provide breastfeeding training to other HSE staff.

o Mothers can access HSE infant feeding/lactation services through their local maternity ward or the public health nursing service in some areas. Contact details for all HSE breastfeeding support services and HSE funded volunteer breastfeeding support groups can be found here: