Louise Gallagher
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing & Midwifery

Biography

Louise Gallagher has recently completed a research project for her PhD studies "Sub-optimal breastfeeding experience and its effects on women, factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland". She is a reviewer for several professional peer review journals. Louise has worked in midwifery practice and education and her research plan is centred around the following areas: breastfeeding, cultural competency, maternity care and professional regulation. Additional research interests include evaluation of knowledge and skills of health practitioners and voluntary supporters in supporting breastfeeding women, mixed-methods research and informed choice for women in maternity services. Louise represented midwifery as a member of the professional regulator; An Bord Altranais, from 2007 - 2012

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Gallagher L, Lawler D, Brady V, OBoyle C, Deasy A, Muldoon K, An evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of structured reflection for midwifery students in Ireland, Nurse Education in Practice, 22, 2017, p7 - 14 Journal Article, 2017

Gallagher L, Hauck Y, Hildingsson I, Blixt I, Rubertsson C, Factors which enable women to continue breastfeeding for six months: an international comparison between Ireland, Australia and Sweden., Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives, Dalarna, Sweden, 23rd-25th August, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

Yvonne L. Hauck, Ingrid Blixt, Ingegerd Hildingsson, Louise Gallagher, Christine Rubertsson, Brooke Thomson and Lucy Lewis, Australian, Irish and Swedish women's perceptions of what assisted them to breastfeed for six months: exploratory design using critical incident technique, BMC Public Health, 16, (1067), 2016 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL

Clare Quigley, Cristina Taut, Tamara Zigman, Louise Gallagher, Harry Campbell, Lina Zgaga, Association between Home Birth and Breast Feeding Outcomes: a Cross-Sectional Study in 28,125 Mother-Infant Pairs from Ireland and UK, British Medical Journal Open, 6, (e010551), 2016, p10.1136/bmjopen-2015- 010551 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Muldoon K, Gallagher L, Mc Guinness D, Smith V., Frenotomy and the associated effect on breastfeeding variables in newborn infants with ankyloglossia (tongue-tie)., Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives, Dalarna, Sweden, 23rd-25th August, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

Szafranska, M. & Gallagher, L., Polish women's experiences of breastfeeding in Ireland , The Practising Midwife, 19, (1), 2016, p30 - 32 Journal Article, 2016

Gallagher L, Begley C, Clarke M, Determinants of breastfeeding initiation in Ireland., Irish journal of medical science, 185, (3), 2015, p663 - 668 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text DOI URL

Carroll, M. , Gallagher, L., Clarke, M. , Millar, S., Begley, C. , Artificial milk-feeding women's views of their feeding choice in Ireland , Midwifery, 31, (6), 2015, p640 - 646 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text DOI

Louise Gallagher, Attitudes towards, and experiences of, peer support among breastfeeding mothers, Maternal and Child Nutrition, Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood, Cumbria, UK, 11th June, 9, (4), John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2013, pp39 - 76 Oral Presentation, 2013

Gallagher, L., Begley, C. & Clarke, M., The social context of breastfeeding in Ireland, 13th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference, Trinity College Dublin, 7th & 8th November, 2012, pp1 Meeting Abstract, 2012 URL

Louise Gallagher, Sub-optimal breastfeeding experience and its effects on women, factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, 2012 Thesis, 2012

Gallagher L, Begley C, Clarke M. , Reconciling the decision to stop breast-feeding in the first six weeks, 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives, , Durban , June, 2011, pp128 - 128 Meeting Abstract, 2011

Louise Gallagher, Infant feeding in Ireland - the historical perspective, MAINN, Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood Conference. , Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria, United Kingdom., 8-10th Sept , 2009 Meeting Abstract, 2009

Louise Gallagher, Linda Biesty, Sally Millar, Peer supporters perceptions of a breast feeding education programme , International Confederation of Midwives, 28th Triennial Congress, Glasgow, 1-5th June 2008, 2008 Poster, 2008

Daly D, Biesty L, Gallagher L and Millar S., Midwife-led care in Ireland: an education, The Practising Midwife, 9, (9), 2006, p26 - 28 Journal Article, 2006

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Dr Louise Gallagher, Kathryn Muldoon & Denise McGuiness, Competence Framework for Breastfeeding Support. , The University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin , 2015, p1 - 36 Report, 2015 URL

Gallagher, Louise, Why women stop breastfeeding and the realities of breastfeeding a newborn, Creating Realistic Breastfeeding Expectations, Green Isle Hotel, Clondalkin, Dublin, 4th October 2013, 2013 Oral Presentation, 2013

Gallagher, L. & Connolly, B., The new legislative framework for regulating Nurses and Midwives in Ireland, An Bord Altranais National Conference October 2012, Dublin, Ireland, 10th October, 2012 Oral Presentation, 2012

Gallagher L & Biesty L, Breastfeeding feature, The Rotunda Hospital Maternity Information guide, 2006 Journal Article, 2006

Gallagher L, Childbirth Matters - Childbirth and it's relationship with breastfeeding, Annual La Leche League of Ireland Conference, Bundoran, Donegal, 11th March 2006, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

Gallagher L, Finding and assessing information, Association of Lactation Consultants Ireland - Spring Conference, Cavan, April 2005, 2005 Conference Paper, 2005

Research Expertise

Description

Louise's research area of interest lies within Maternity Care and Women's Health. She is interested in research relating to all aspects of midwifery, midwifery education and maternity care but currently focusing on breastfeeding and peer support.

Projects

  • Title
    • The national infant feeding survey
  • Summary
    • This is a national survey which commenced in April 2008. The purpose of this study is to provide baseline data on the rate of exclusive and partial breastfeeding at 3-4 months and 6-7 months following birth. To ascertain what factors influence a decision to breastfeed or not and to determine the reasons given by women for stopping breastfeeding at all stages.
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Service executive
  • Date From
    • April 2008
  • Date To
    • 2009
  • Title
    • The Rotunda and the Women of North Inner City Dublin:
  • Summary
    • Aim of study: to assess if the Rotunda is meeting the maternity and gynaecology needs of women in the north inner city Dublin
  • Funding Agency
    • Rotunda hospital and Dublin City Council
  • Date From
    • August 07
  • Date To
    • July 08
  • Title
    • Peer supporters perceptions of a breastfeeding education programme
  • Summary
    • The aim of this study is to assess the perceptions of a group of peer supporters in relation to the education programme. This research inquiry will be guided by the principles of Action Research (A.R.) as described by Rolfe (1998).
  • Title
    • Sub-optimal breastfeeding experience and its effects on women, factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland
  • Summary
    • There is extensive evidence for the long and short-term benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and infant. Comprehensive national information regarding infant feeding practices in Ireland has been limited. Aims: This study was designed to examine rates of exclusive and partial breastfeeding at 48 hours after birth, 3-4 months and 6-7 months postnatal and to identify factors that influence a decision to breastfeed. It also aimed to explore unsatisfactory breastfeeding experiences among the survey group, and the potential impact that these might have on future infant feeding choices for those women who discontinued breastfeeding in the early postpartum period. Methodology: Mixed-methods research, underpinned by a pragmatist philosophy, was chosen as the most appropriate method to address the research question as it enabled the development of a complete and full understanding of the factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding. application of the results in a manner that could bring about positive consequences for breastfeeding in Ireland. Findings: The results showed that the initiation and duration of breastfeeding in the study cohort remained well below other European countries, with just over half of the women initiating breastfeeding (56%) and less than one in five (19%) fully breastfeeding at 3-4 months of age. Exclusive breastfeeding was reported by 13% (n=61) of the 461 mothers who responded to Phase 3. This is just 6% of the 1002 mothers who responded to Phase 2 and who had breastfed their infants at birth. The compelling relationship between maternal socio-demographic characteristics and breastfeeding initiation was once again demonstrated by the results of this study. Without exception, having a higher socio-economic status clearly favours breastfeeding at birth. In particular, mothers' health-insurance status mediates the effect of several other variables and has been found in this study to be an important factor in the determinant of initiation of breastfeeding initiation. Vivid accounts of personal failure and guilt were portrayed by women who had had a suboptimal encounter with breastfeeding. Women defined this failure as not having achieved their breastfeeding goals in relation to the targets that they had set for themselves. Findings from this study have confirmed that the messages currently conveyed around the superiority of breastfeeding also lead to significant guilt for women when they have a short and unsatisfactory breastfeeding encounter. Women in the present study viewed the widely adopted health-promotion message of 'breast is best' as a contributor to idealistic and often unrealistic notions of the ease of breastfeeding. The qualitative aspect of the present study highlights significant deficiencies in the current level and quality of postnatal support for breastfeeding. It is also evident that breastfeeding is inextricably linked to being a 'good mother', and that cessation compounds a sense of failure in both mothering abilities and the skill of breastfeeding. Furthermore, the results show that pain may have significant and long-lasting implications for mothers when considering future infant feeding choices. Conclusion: The findings demonstrate multiple social and cultural factors pertinent to initiation and duration and have implications for breastfeeding promotion and policy together with delivery of existing antenatal and postnatal services. Achieving the recommendations of this study, designed to promote, support and change the culture of breastfeeding in Ireland will begin to bring about the significant shift required, to improve rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration.
  • Funding Agency
    • HRB
  • Date From
    • March 2008
  • Date To
    • 31st March 2012
  • Title
    • The factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland.
  • Summary
    • The findings of a research study on the factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland study were communicated to the original participants, midwives and other key stakeholders including the HSE, National breastfeeding co-ordinator and breastfeeding peer supporters in a series of workshops. These workshops took place at four venues round the country. These seminars were an opportunity to enhance the understanding of the results and bring about a change in how mothers and stakeholders communicate about breastfeeding and used a video to give an overview of the findings and recommendations from the study. The dissemination revealed that women and participants agreed with the studies main findings and suggested that priority should be given to providing breastfeeding support to first time mothers at every feed in the first few days, to reduce the incidence of feeding challenges at this time. Priority was also given by participants to the need to continue such support in the initial days following birth and provide continued help from midwives following discharge from hospital.
  • Funding Agency
    • HRB
  • Date From
    • Nov 2012
  • Date To
    • Dec 2013
  • Title
    • Factors which enable Irish women to continue breastfeeding for six months: an international comparison with Sweden and Australia.
  • Summary
    • Background Evidence from a systematic review has confirmed the benefits of breast milk for infant health, further supporting optimal duration for exclusive breastfeeding continuing to six months (Kramer & Kakuma, 2012). Although many countries have promising initiation rates such as 98% for Sweden, 96% for Australia and 81% for the United Kingdom (Save the Children, 2012) prevalence rates are not as encouraging. National data from Ireland suggests that less than 7% of breastfeeding women are breastfeeding at 6 months (Begley et al, 2008), reflecting low initiation and continuation rates in this context. To be effective, breastfeeding support should ideally be tailored to the needs of the setting and population (Renfrew et al., 2012). Further research is warranted to address what enables women to breastfeeding for six months and this proposed study will add to our knowledge by exploring Irish, Swedish and Australian women's perceptions. This exploratory qualitative study used critical incident techniques which have been used to evaluate consumer expectations and perceptions in health care (Kemppainen, 2000). Women who breastfed a recent child for a minimum of six months were invited to participate. Recruitment occurred through advertisements in local newspapers and on social networking platforms. Sampling was purposive initially in all sites, followed by snowball sampling. Three hundred and forty seven women participated in digitally recorded telephone interviews (64 in Ireland, 130 in Sweden and 153 in Australia). The critical incidents demonstrated that across the three contexts there are varying results surrounding enablers related to continuation of breastfeeding.
  • Funding Agency
    • Curtin University, Australia
  • Date From
    • 01.6.15
  • Date To
    • 27.5.16
  • Title
    • The effects of frenotomy on breastfeeding variables in newborn infants with ankyloglossia
  • Summary
    • A before and after prospective comparative cohort study is being carried out to To determine the associated effects (if any) that frenotomy may have on breastfeeding variables1 in infants with ankyloglossia, and, to determine factors that influence breastfeeding women's decision-making in choosing frenotomy for their infants. Breastfeeding variables will be determined at baseline (i.e. prior to the frenotomy procedure) following a woman's decision for her infant to undergo frenotomy. One month post-frenotomy, breastfeeding variables in women who return the baseline survey will be determined and comparisons made.
  • Date From
    • 25.3.15
  • Title
    • A Review of the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in Ireland
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Service Executive
  • Date From
    • Feb 2016
  • Date To
    • 17.10.16

Keywords

BREAST-FED INFANTS; BREAST-FEEDING; BREAST-MILK; CULTURAL DIVERSITY; MIDWIFERY; MIDWIFERY EDUCATION; MIDWIVES; POST PARTUM

Recognition

Representations

Elected to An Bord Altranais in 2008

Memberships

Association of Lactation Consultants of Ireland 2004