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Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme launched at Queen’s

Queen’s University has signed up to the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme which aims to actively show support to breastfeeding mothers.

Launching the Breastfeeding Welcome Here Scheme at Queen’s University Belfast are (from L-R): Dr Maria Healy, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery Education and Swan Champion at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s; Queen’s staff member Sorcha Mac Laimhin and her daughter; Student midwife at Queen’s Jordan Richmond and her son; Co-Chair of BirthWise Samantha Mackie and her son; Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s; and Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Wellbeing Improvement Officer at Public Health Agency.

The scheme is designed to illustrate that all public areas of the campus are open to breastfeeding and that staff will be supportive to breastfeeding mothers who are working at, studying at or visiting the University.

Speaking about the importance of the scheme, Dr Maria Healy, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery Education and Swan Champion at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s, said: “It is a privilege to lead the rollout of this scheme across Queen’s as it enables the normalisation of breastfeeding within the University for students, staff, and visitors.

“We know that breastfeeding improves the health and wellbeing of both children and women and it is vital that breastfeeding mothers feel comfortable and confident. Having a supportive environment across Queen’s will make a huge difference to a large number of mothers and babies, and we want people to know that breastfeeding is welcome here.”

Queen’s staff member Sorcha Mac Laimhin who is currently breastfeeding her second child, six-month-old Meadhbh, said:

“I’m really pleased to see the Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme being launched at Queen’s. As a breastfeeding mother, it’s so important to be able to feed my baby anywhere I go and seeing the campaign stickers makes me feel even more confident to do so.

“I’m really proud to know that Queen’s is promoting the scheme and that they are going out of their way to encourage breastfeeding mothers to feel comfortable on campus.”

Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer with PHA, said: “The PHA is delighted to have Queen’s University as a member of the Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme. We all have a role in supporting breastfeeding mums and creating a supportive environment makes continuing to breastfeed more likely.

“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 apprehensive. The scheme, which started in 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. This can often relieve pressure for a mum by showing there is a friendly environment where breastfeeding is normal and the needs of a breastfeeding mum will be met.”