Just over a third of mothers are breastfeeding their newborns when they leave hospital, according to a new study.
The Irish Maternity Indicator System report for 2019 shows that Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.
This report shows that just two out of three women start breastfeeding before leaving hospital.
63.8% of women initiate breastfeeding at their baby’s first feed, compared with rates of 81% in the UK, 79% in the US and 90% in Australia.
According to the study, just over 37% of mothers in Ireland are breastfeeding when they leave hospital with their newborn.
One maternity unit in the country recorded a rate of under 20%, according to the report.
The report also shows that the total number of births in Ireland has fallen by almost 12 % since 2014 and by almost 20% since 2008.
Additionally, the rate of Caesarean sections increased again to 34.3% of all births.
According to Kay Browne from La Leche League breastfeeding support group, there is a traditional bottle-feeding culture in Ireland that started in the 1950s.
On the number of women who breastfeed in Ireland, she told Newstalk Breakfast: "We are increasing slowly each year.
"Our role is in supporting the mother who chooses to breastfeed and the mothers who come to us have a lot of success with that but we don't have a lot of mothers coming to us when they're pregnant."
Ms Browne added that legislation to protect breastfeeding mothers and signs in restaurants that breastfeeding is accepted have both helped to reduce women's reluctance to breastfeed in public.
She said: "I suppose traditionally, we tend to cover up a lot, we're don't exactly go around exposed at any time of the year."
She said that there is also a lack of lactation consultants in this country.
Ms Browne said: "That's a problem if you can't access expertise when in you're in the hospital.
"As well as that, they don't seem to cover a lot in the antenatal classes, traditionally we would like to see mothers referred to us during the antenatal period rather than when they've had their babies."
Additional reporting by Kim Buckley