Trust Provides Support To Breastfeeding Mums On Their Return To Work Journey

28th July 2023
Two members of staff face each other discussing the new Return to Work Breastfeeding Packs

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place from 1 – 7 August 2023.  This year, the Health Visiting Service, in partnership with the Health Development Department in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, are supporting staff and mums who are continuing to breastfeed their babies who are returning to work, through the introduction of ‘Return to Work Breastfeeding Packs’, creating a healthier and more nurturing environment for our children.

The packs consist of a cool bag, milk collection bottles, a water bottle and an ice pack allowing mums to express their milk during the day while at work.  The cool bag, along with the ice pack, helps keep breastmilk cool, while the water bottle is important to prevent breastfeeding mums from becoming dehydrated throughout the day.

Breastfeeding is a vital component of early childhood development, providing numerous health benefits for both infants and mothers. Studies have shown that breast milk is nature’s perfect food, packed with essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that boost a child’s immune system, reducing the risk of infections and chronic diseases. Moreover, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and child, fostering emotional development.

Community Infant Feeding Co-Ordinator, Kelly Leonard said, “This year as part of World Breastfeeding Awareness Week, we are promoting and supporting those mums who wish to continue their breastfeeding journey when they return to work.

“We know from research that mums can feel that they can no longer continue to breastfeed on their return to work.  As a Trust, we want to ensure that we are providing support through the provision of the packs, so that mums can continue to breastfeed for as long as they wish.”

Health Visitor and mum, Ciara Marley who has recently returned to work after the birth of her second son, highlighted the benefits of the packs and commented, “I returned to work when my son was 11 months old and I was still breastfeeding.  I was very nervous about coming back, but the support I received from my manager and Health Visiting Team has been brilliant.

“Being able to breastfeed was very important to me.  I can continue my breastfeeding journey thanks to the ‘Return to Work Breastfeeding Pack’ which has made a difference, it is really handy, allowing me the option to express my milk.  Coming back to work after a year on maternity leave was very daunting.  I was very anxious about how I was going to manage to continue to breastfeed, however the transition was smoother than I initially thought!”

The ‘Return to Work Breastfeeding Pack’ can be obtained by contacting your Health Visitor or Child Health Assistant.  If you are a member of staff and live outside the Trust area, please email to reserve your pack.

Further information on breastfeeding and support groups in your area is available by visiting , please visit:

Also, to mark World Breastfeeding Awareness Week, a ‘Breastival’ event will take place on Saturday 5 August 2023 in Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum, Belfast.  A unique award-winning festival which aims to support, normalise and celebrate breastfeeding as part of everyday life in Northern Ireland.

For more information on the event and to register for tickets, visit

The Return to Work Breasfeeding Pack which includes a bag, bottles and ice-pack