Are you a breastfeeding mom, or the friend, spouse, relative or partner of a breastfeeding mom? If so, get out and celebrate with The Big Latch On; an event in which mothers around the world gather to synchronously breastfeed their children in public. This year’s celebration, timed to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, takes place on August 2 and 3 and projects to see at least 10,000 mothers, in hundreds of locations and dozens of nations around the world “latching on” to support breastfeeding.
Participating in a “latch on” is easy. And if there’s not one scheduled in your community, the event website offers simple steps to start your own event. It’s a friendly, no-frills gathering that can take place in your local park, beach, hospital, coffee shop or library. All nursing mothers gathered begin to nurse simultaneously for at least one minute, and their numbers are recorded for the 2013 record. In 2012, nearly 9,000 women participated.
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Diana Carrero, a mother who participated in the 2012 event in San Juan, Puerto Rico, recalls that she felt “overwhelmed by the support of the event” and the many mothers she encountered. “I was not expecting to see so many mothers attend. I was expecting more like 10 mothers or so,” said Carrero. “When I got there and saw 83 mothers breastfeeding at the same time I felt really proud!” Moreover, Carrero said that “seeing all those mothers breastfeeding their infants and toddlers validated my decision to breastfeed and gave me evidence of how breastfeeding is now becoming the feeding choice of many mothers, even working mothers like me.” Carrero added that she was also amazed at how many husbands were at the event. “I was happy to see so many husbands supporting their wives; mine included.” The event had other sites throughout the island and Corerro found out about the event through a friend of hers who lives in Australia—the event was founded in 2005 in neighboring New Zealand.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
Breastfeeding is nature’s way of providing essential nutrients for babies, at least until they’re ready to eat solid foods. As such, mothers have long been the main providers of the nourishment babies needed. While infant formula is a viable breastmilk substitute for mothers who cannot breastfeed, the health benefits of breastmilk are widely known. One of the main benefits of breastfeeding is that it reduces the risk of infection and atopic disease (allergies) in children. However, the most striking evidence of the protective effects of breastfeeding against infections comes from children who live in places where poverty, poor hygiene, and poverty are prevalent. These breastfed children’s immune systems demonstrate a higher capacity to fight infections.
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding for infants are: