Ireland ranks low in international breastfeeding study

A global report has labelled Ireland's support for and protection of breastfeeding as "mediocre"

Max Ryan

November 29, 2023

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  • Ireland has received a score of 56/100 when it comes to support for and protection of breastfeeding, and a rank of 57 out of 99 participating countries globally, by an inaugural report by Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin).

    The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative Report, led by TU Dublin with support from UNICEF, has ranked Ireland at 10th out of 19 European countries that participated, a ranking it has called "mediocre".

    Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with just 63% of babies receiving breastmilk at birth and < 5% exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months, a stark deviation from the WHO target of 50% at the six-month mark.

    The report pinpoints gaps in Ireland’s support for and protection of breastfeeding and identifies key areas for improvement to raise Ireland’s breastfeeding rates. These include standardising breastfeeding education for all healthcare professionals that encounter pregnant and breastfeeding women, providing for greater availability of breastfeeding preparation classes and breastfeeding support groups, developing an infant and young child feeding in emergencies preparedness plan, and fully implementing the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

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