Hello I’m Niamh Kennelly!
I am a Public Health Nurse (PHN) and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with a passion for all things breastfeeding and Child Health.
I am a mother of 3 children, and I had my own difficult and wonderful breastfeeding journey. It is a journey that I wish every woman could experience, and it is a journey that I still miss every day, and I never thought I would say that!
Shortly after training as a PHN, I became aware that my breastfeeding knowledge was not sufficiently expert for me to confidently counsel and advise the parents that I worked with. So, I started a Breastfeeding Support Group in the local town with the support of some amazing local breastfeeding mothers. It was with their support and encouragement that I decided to go further in my studies and embark on becoming an IBCLC- Lactation Consultant.
So, why set up this website?
There is so much more breastfeeding knowledge available now than there was when I had my first 2 children. We have Breastfeeding Support Groups, PHN’s, Lactation Consultants, La Leche League and Cuidiu counsellors, online advice and support, and equipment widely available to assist us.
Yet, I meet women every day who set out to breastfeed, but find themselves in a position where their plans do not come to fruition, for so many reasons. For some women/baby’s, breastfeeding is easy and with a few tips, they will go on to have a wonderful journey. However, for many Irish mothers breastfeeding is hugely challenging.
What I do to help
I help the parents that I work with by being empathetic, actively listening to their concerns, and providing a thorough assessment of the baby, the mother and then assessing a full breastfeed. I then work with the parents to develop a plan that works for them, and suits they’re breastfeeding goals. Most of the time, breastfeeding mothers know instinctively what the issue is, they just don’t know how to fix it. At these times, they need expert help from a person who knows their stuff and really cares about them and their breastfeeding journey. Peer support from other breastfeeding mothers is also crucial for everyday long term support, and a supportive family empowers mothers and fathers to persist and pursue their goals.
I believe that in order for breastfeeding to become the ‘norm’ in Ireland, we need to recreate the lost generational knowledge base within every village, town and community in Ireland. This means that every community would work together to educate each other and provide peer support that is freely and widely available. The more I can empower women and families to share their knowledge and support each other, the more breastfeeding will feel ‘normal’ for these women.
Therefore I am making it my mission to find out how we can begin to make this happen, starting with just me, in my own small way, and hopefully igniting a cinder that will develop into a raging fire of breastfeeding knowledge, empowerment and enthusiasm.