The Big Latch On

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Au_14_Big-Latch-OnShort on numbers but big on smiles, for the sole ‘Big Latch On’ participant in Otaki, to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

Ellie West, aged just 10 months, brought her mum Maddy West and brother Sam, aged two and a half, to the Otaki Birthing Services Centre for the international Big Latch On, on August 1.

“The Big Latch On is to encourage women to breastfeed making it a positive experience for mothers and babies.” Otaki midwife, Liz Jull said. “Today is a celebration for women getting together and sharing experiences and supporting each other.”

A total of 1580 mums and babes joined the Big Latch On around New Zealand, most attending the registered venues, with 150 women sending in “selfies” to be part of the official count. This annual event takes place on the first Friday of August and all “participants” had to be latched on and feeding around the official time of 10.30 am.

“This is the smallest group we’ve had,” Ms Jull said. Last year there were seven mums plus babes and toddlers attending.

The New Zealand stage of the Big Latch On involves thousands of women from different cultures and backgrounds, gathering together at registered venues around the country and various countries world-wide, to simultaneously breastfeed their babies. Ultimately the aim of the Big Latch On is to positively support breastfeeding in public places and to help mums link into community services or to build new support groups where there are none, meet other mums and make new friends.

This annual event is organised by Women’s Health Action in New Zealand. In the Otaki and Manawatu areas the Central Region College of Midwives donated funds for gifts to all participants and to provide morning tea for attendees

By MARGARET ANDREWS