You are here

University Hospital Galway supporting families during National Breastfeeding Week and beyond

National Breastfeeding Week is marked each year from 01 to 07 October, it is an opportunity to discuss the importance of breastfeeding as the normal and healthy way to feed babies and young children. Breastfeeding gives babies the best start for a healthy life and it protects both mother and baby, the health benefits are undisputed. It is also crucial that women are empowered, enabled and supported on their breastfeeding journey.

“This year’s theme,  ‘Making our communities and workplaces more breastfeeding friendly’ aims at highlighting the local supports available to parents.  Many breastfeeding mothers need ongoing support to continue breastfeeding and it’s important that they know they are not alone and that expert help is available to them every step of the way on their breastfeeding journey.

The number of babies being breastfed is continuing to grow. HSE figures for 2022 show that 62% of babies were breastfed when the public health nurse made their first visit after birth and the government have recognised this rise by introducing legislation to enable all mothers who are returning to work to avail of breaks in their workday to breastfeed their baby until they are 2 years old.

“Breastfeeding is a learned skill acquired through education, observation and experience. While it is the most natural way to feed babies it’s also a skill that mum and baby learn during the early days and weeks,” explains Claire Cellarius, Breast Feeding/Lactation Specialist Midwife at University Hospital Galway.

“At University Hospital Galway we have a wide range of breastfeeding supports available to parents. We hold a weekly breastfeeding support group for new mums and expectant women are also welcome to attend.  Antenatal Breastfeeding Education is offered at the hospital and at outreach clinics, along with live virtual breastfeeding webinars, which take place once a month delivered by a team of Midwives, a Lactation Specialist Midwife and Consultant Neonatologist. Mothers can register for the breastfeeding webinars by going to

“We recently recruited two additional Lactation Consultants to support the expansion of our breastfeeding service here at the hospital and earlier this year a second clinic was added to the ‘Well Baby Breastfeeding Clinic’ due to increased demand for the service. The ‘Well Baby Breastfeeding Clinic’, the first of its kind in Ireland, designed to support mothers who are having difficulty breastfeeding early on. The clinic identifies a wide range of breastfeeding issues and all referrals to the clinic are through the postnatal ward at UHG or your local Public Health Nurse.

“The Mums Wellbeing Hub’ which provides online support, advice and signposting on postnatal services is available to mothers and their families both in the hospital and the community. The team includes a Midwife, Social Worker, Paediatrician, GP, Pharmacist, Public Health Nurse, Dietician, Physiotherapist, Lactation Consultant, Urogynaecology Specialist Midwife and a member of the Perinatal Mental Health Team. To register for hub, visit

“Virtual support clinics are hosted every week where mothers can access from the comfort of their own home to seek help and support from the Lactation Specialist Midwife. Times and details are available to mothers when they are leaving hospital and are also listed on Face to face appointments are also available for mothers with breastfeeding concerns or difficulties. Referrals for face to face appointments can be made through your local Public Health Nurse or GP”, added Claire.  

Other supports available to parents are available on the HSE’s including:

  • Ask the expert - live chat and e-mail support service which provides access to a breastfeeding expert is available 7 days a week. This is an excellent resource for women at every stage of their breastfeeding journey.
  • Contact details for 180 HSE and HSE funded volunteer breastfeeding organisations – search by county function
  • Practical advice across a range of breastfeeding topics e.g. feeding in the early days, how do I know if my baby is getting enough and tips on breastfeeding and returning to work

During National Breastfeeding Week the Maternity Department at University Hospital Galway (UHG) will have information stands available throughout the unit for women to access information about breastfeeding and gift bags will be presented to all mums who deliver during National Breastfeeding Week.  

Education and awareness sessions for transition year students will take place on Tuesday, 03 October and Friday, 06 October about the importance of breastfeeding. A collaboration between University Hospital Galway, Health Promotion and Community Nutrition and Dietetic Services, Community Healthcare West.

On Wednesday, 04 October, from 11 am to 1 pm at the Westside Library, staff from the Maternity Department are inviting parents to join them for some light refreshments and to bring their infants to "Celebrate" National Breastfeeding Week. To RSVP, email or call 091 543470.

National Breastfeeding Week UHG, from Left, Cora O’Donoghue, Lactation Consultant, UHG; Gemma Healy, Lactation Consultant, UHG and Claire Cellarius, Breast Feeding/Lactation Specialist Midwife, UHG with Nicola Kyne and Baby Mollie Kenny from Loughrea, County Galway.

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
University Hospital Galway (UHG)