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World Prematurity Day

Information for parents

The 17th November, 2016 was World Prematurity Day, an international day which raises awareness of the issues facing babies born prematurely and highlights supports for parents of premature babies.

Breastfeeding and Expressing for your Premature or Sick BabyA new booklet and on-line information on breastfeeding for parents of premature babies has been launched at the National Maternity Hospital for World Prematurity Day. A number of organisations have come together to develop the information resources for parents - the HSE, the Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland, Irish Premature Babies, the National Maternity Hospital and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

Breast milk is vital for premature babies to help them grow and develop and to prevent infections and illness. Speaking at the launch, Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Dr. Rhona Mahony says, ‘Our babies that are born preterm are particularly vulnerable. Breast milk is not only nutrition for premature babies, every drop of breast milk is protecting your baby’s health. Everything that we can do to support parents of preterm babies is important. This practical information launched today is part of the range of supports to help mothers’

Mum, Elaine McGovern, says “So many emotions hit you when you have a baby that’s born early. You can feel helpless so it is really good to know that there is something that you can do as a mother to protect your baby’s health, by giving breast milk to your baby”

Irish Premature Babies is a charity dedicated to supporting parents of preterm babies. Their website is http://www.irishprematurebabies.com/ Allison Molloy of Irish Premature Babies says, ‘Each year over 4,500 pre-term babies are born in Ireland, every 116 minutes a pre-term baby is born, in one of Ireland’s maternity units. Irish Premature Babies delivers front line services to families and support the work of the neonatal intensive care units around Ireland by providing vital equipment towards the care of pre-term babies’.

National Breastfeeding Co-ordinator, Siobhan Hourigan says, ‘Mother’s own milk, makes such a difference to premature babies. We want to support and help mums to provide breast milk for their babies. The booklet and online information and videos http://www.breastfeeding,ie/ talks parents through this and gives step by step tips and photos on expressing milk, kangaroo care, and lots more’.

For further information log on to the HSE website www.breastfeeding.ie/Getting-Started/Premature-or-ill-baby/