August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, La Leche League has announced a nationwide breastfeeding event called the Big Latch On. On Saturday August 6, 2011 at 10:30am thousands of nursing mothers and their babies across the United States will gather in their own communities to take part in the Big Latch On, America’s first synchronized nursing event in multiple locations. Our local Big Latch On event, organized by La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires, will take place at the Town Common in Adams, MA. Mothers are encourage to arrive by 10:00 a.m. for check-in.
What’s a Big Latch On? Groups of nursing mothers coming together at registered venues around the country (or the world) to all nurse their babes at a set time. All the mamas and babes latched on for one minute at the set time (10:30 a.m.) are counted by the witnesses. The numbers are added up and we see how close we come to the world record!
The first record for a single location was from Berkeley, CA USA in 2002 where 1,130 mothers breastfed simultaneously. The international record for one location is 3,738 mothers held by the Philippines in 2006. Since then, there have been several coordinated international events and in October 2010, 9,826 nursing mothers were recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries.
The Big Latch On is originally from New Zealand. It was introduced to Portland, Oregon in 2010 by Joanne Edwards as a celebration for World Breastfeeding Week. During the same week Annie Brown, a La Leche League Leader from Connecticut organized a simultaneous breastfeeding event in her home state. For World Breastfeeding Week 2011, they are working collaboratively and with the support of La Leche League USA to bring the event across the country.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals.
Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies, and babies who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (both mom and baby.) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by mother and baby.
For more information, call Marya LaRoche, 413-441-7176 or visit http://www.biglatchon.org
P.S. Don’t forget about Berkshire North WIC’s annual World Breastfeeding Day celebration at Whitney’s Farm Market in Cheshire on Friday, August 5th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is a free family friendly event and a great way to learn about local community agencies and resources. There is a playground and petting zoo for the kids and David Grover will be performing. Hope to see you there!