Breastfeeding challenge comes to Tullamore

WHILE the Irish Rugby team are taking on the world in New Zealand, breastfeeding mums in Ireland have the chance this week to come top in a challenge of their own.

WHILE the Irish Rugby team are taking on the world in New Zealand, breastfeeding mums in Ireland have the chance this week to come top in a challenge of their own.

This Saturday, October 1 in Cafe4U in the Bridge Centre, Tullamore, mums in the Midlands can join in trying to beat last year’s 4th place in the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge and help get National Breastfeeding week (October 1 to 7) off to a flying start!

This is the first time that a venue in the Midlands has taken part in this annual event which is staged worldwide to raise public awareness of the need for proper information and support for breastfeeding mothers. It originated in the Canadian province of British Columbia back in 2001 with 856 babies and their mothers sitting down to nurse simultaneously at 26 different sites.

The Challenge has since grown to become an annual global event. Last year was the first time Ireland participated with 98 mothers and 106 babies and children sitting down to nurse at Mahon Point Shopping Centre in Cork and of the 216 sites that took part worldwide in 2010, Ireland placed fourth.  

Ireland has the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. Yet the health and economic benefits to children, mother and society as a whole are enormous. Local organiser Sarah Crowley said, “We just want to encourage and support mums who are breastfeeding, and to recognise the good they are doing for their children and for our society as a whole. We also want to beat Cork, Dublin and Limerick (the other three Irish venues this year) and grab 1st place!” Sarah has been supported in her efforts by La Leche League members and leaders from its groups around the Midlands.

Friends of Breastfeeding Ireland are organising the national count at the venues. The event will kick-off at 9am, with the official ‘latch-count’ at 11am, and end at 1pm. Breastfeeding mums wishing to join in need to register to be counted, either before or after participation. However there will be plenty to see and do for all mums and families, no matter how they have chosen to feed their babies and dads are welcome too!

There will be free parking, and free tea, coffee and scones available courtesy of the Bridge Centre and Cafe4U. Bridge Centre management have organised face painting for older children and in addition there are goodie-bags packed full of samples and discount vouchers from the sponsoring companies for all registered participants.

Spot prizes up for grabs on the day include: a week-end away in the County Arms Hotel; a hamper from McElwee pharmacies; a potted plant from Slieve Bloom nurseries; a print with all your baby’s details from prints4gifts; a hair voucher from Hairspray Salon; a beauty box from the Retreat Beauty Spa; a child saver account from Tullamore Credit Union; Galvins Menswear are sponsoring a prize for all the dads who come along; The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding courtesy of La Leche League, Tullamore; 50% off a baby massage course courtesy of Rachel at Body and Soul at the Maldron Hotel; 50% off a course of baby swim lessons courtesy of Portarlington Swimming Pool.

Other generous donations and sponsorship have been received from Birr Castle Demesne for reduced membership (€10 instead of €25) for all participants; Glenisk have sponsored Greek yogurts for all the mums attending; Deasy Photographic, the 1st ever Irish European Photographer of the Year, has sponsored a €50 voucher for every participant; Jackie Quinn from Tiny Talk is offering a Baby Signing Pack for participants and Jumping Jacks Tullamore and Balcony Books, Bridge Centre Tullamore, are also sponsoring the event.

La Leche League will be available to give breastfeeding support and information. Parents First Laois/Offaly Ltd will be on hand to discuss the support services they offer to families. There will be exhibitors offering information on homebirth, baby wearing and portrait photography. Also Information stands will be available from Baby Swimming, Baby Massage and Baby Signing sponsors.

To pre-register for the event in Tullamore and guarantee your goodie-bag send your name, your child/children’s names and venue “Tullamore” to midlandsevent@gmail.com

For more information on the event in Tullamore you can email midlandsevent@gmail.com or check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BreastfeedingChallenge2011