What is the Virtual Big Latch On?

The Virtual Big Latch On is a new initiative, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in place of the Big Latch On. The Virtual Big Latch On is part of Global World Breastfeeding week activities (1-7th August) and involves people from different cultures and backgrounds gathering together online to access community and peer to peer support, breastfeed their children, and/or share their feeding journeys and photos online to the Big Latch On Facebook page with the hashtag #BigLatchOnNZ.

The Virtual Big Latch On aims to support parents in their communities with their feeding journeys, by creating safe and accepting online spaces. It provides an opportunity for parents to connect with and meet new friends online, and receive support and information from local services.

What are the aims of the Virtual Big Latch On?

To hold a safe, accepting, online space for breastfeeding parents to connect in the time of COVID-19.

To be inclusive, welcoming and supportive of all whānau regardless of how their child is fed.

To support communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide on-going breastfeeding support and promotion.
Connect whānau with support and knowledge available in their communities.

Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.

Connect parents with other parents and act as a conduit for the establishment of peer support groups (particularly in rural areas)

When is the Virtual Big Latch On?

The Virtual Big Latch On 2021 will take place on Friday 6th August and Saturday 7th of August. Annually the Big Latch On happens during or around World Breastfeeding Week (1st – 7th August). From 2014, the Big Latch On has been held over two days – a Friday and Saturday. Holding the event over two days gives even more people the opportunity to participate.

What time is the Virtual Big Latch On?

Because the Virtual Big Latch On is being held online,  your events can be held at any time across the two days – Friday 6 August and Saturday 7 August. There will also be Global Virtual Big Latch On events taking place throughout World Breastfeeding Week in different time zones to New Zealand. These events will be listed on the Global Big Latch On website: https://biglatchon.org/

What kind of virtual events can I host?

It is up to you what kind of event you want to hold, based on what is most suitable for your community and intended participants. Some ideas include: Live Q&A sessions with local breastfeeding experts or advocates; events with people discussing their feeding journeys; inviting breastfeeding friendly workplaces to discuss breastfeeding at work; and coffee-group style events to connect breastfeeding parents in a local community.

Are we counting the number of “latches” this year, as part of the Virtual Big Latch On?

We will still give hosts the option to hold a “latch on” as part of their Virtual Big Latch On event. However, because events can be held at any time across Friday 6 August and Saturday 7 August, the latch on won’t be at the same time for everyone. We will be asking hosts to record the number of “latches” as well as the number of participants that attended their event. Anyone that is feeding their baby at a virtual event can be counted as a latch.

If you do not want to count the number of latches at your event, that is ok too. We support and encourage participants at virtual events to breastfeed, but it is not a requirement of their attendance.

If you do coordinate your participants to be breastfeeding, ask everyone’s permission to take a screenshot – it will be one big breastfeeding selfie!

When will the in-person Big Latch On be returning?

It is our intention to celebrate the Face-to-Face Big Latch On in 2022, though in these uncertain times, this may change.

Do attendees of my event need to register?

No, attendees of your event do not need to register. We will simply ask hosts to take note of how many people attend their virtual event.

Our website does have a tool where participants can register for an event by clicking on the event details and entering their email address – this is only so that they get an emailed reminder of the date and time of that specific event, and is not something that hosts will need to keep track of.

Who can host an event for the Virtual Big Latch On?

Any individual, organisation, community group or company interested in supporting parents.

Who cannot host an event for the Virtual Big Latch On?

Any entity that is in violation of the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. You can access the Code here.

How do I set up my virtual event?

As hosts, it is up to you to determine what virtual platform you choose to utilise and what will work best for your community. If you do not have access to, or are not familiar with virtual platform options, the team at Women’s Health Action will be here to provide any assistance and support you need. Check out this link for some information on the various different platforms that are available: https://techweek.co.nz/news/platforms-for-running-digital-events/ Once you decide which platform to use, you will need to set up your event which will create a link for people to access the virtual event. We will ask you to provide this link on our registration page.

How do I register my virtual event?

Enter your event information on our registration page here:

Can I have a private event?

Yes, you are able to have a private event. When filling out our registration page, select the “Private Event” box. This means your event won’t be promoted on our “Find an event” page, and we will not post the details of your event to the Big Latch On Facebook page. You will need to send the details of your event directly to the people you want to invite.

How can we spread the word about our virtual event?

Women’s Health Action is working to create a promotional image for the Virtual Big Latch On. This image can be shared or uploaded to your website or Facebook page to promote the Virtual Big Latch On. Details of your virtual event will be listed on our website once you have registered your event, and we will share the details of your event to the Big Latch On Aotearoa/New Zealand Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BigLatchOnNZ)

The 2018 evaluation of the Big Latch On showed that most participants found out about the Big Latch On via Facebook. We encourage you to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help spread the word.

Other ideas include:
• Approach local businesses and see if they would be happy to promote your event on their social media pages, websites and/or publications.
• Approach local midwives and ask if they would be willing to talk to their clients about your virtual event.
• Approach your local maternity hospitals and birthing centres and ask if they would be willing to talk to their clients about your virtual event.

Can we set up our own website or Facebook page?

Yes, you can set up your own Facebook event page or or website for your event. You can also ask us to help you out with promoting your event on our Facebook page.

How do I cancel my virtual event?

Before you cancel your virtual event, consider whether someone else can take over the hosting responsibilities for this event. Women’s Health Action can assist you with finding a new host and help to address any other difficulties you may be facing. If you still need to cancel your event, you can do so at any time. Firstly, you need to delete your event online by logging into the website using the email and password you entered when you registered. You will also need to contact us at Women’s Health Action via phone (09) 520 5295 or email ([email protected]) to let us know you have cancelled your event. Please be aware that you are responsible for making sure your community and attendees are informed of the cancellation. This means you need to spread the word about the cancellation in all the places you originally advertised.

Who can attend?

Anyone can attend your virtual event, unless you decide to host a private event, in which case your event will not be promoted by us publicly. You will simply need to share your event link with the people you want to invite.

What if no one attends my virtual event?

Unfortunately, this is always a possibility with Big Latch On events, and it will be no different with the Virtual Big Latch On. Please contact Women’s Health Action and we can work with you for the following year.

Why is the Virtual Big Latch On in August?

The first week of August has been designated International World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) and the Big Latch On is held during these days as a celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. You can read more about WBW at http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

How do I report how many people attended my event?

You should text the number of latches to Women’s Health Action, along with your event details. Women’s Health Action will send out an email with information on texting in your numbers before the Virtual Big Latch On.

What about sponsorships?

As the Virtual Big Latch On is an online-only event, we do not have any official sponsors or spot prizes this year. If you would still like to run spot prize draws in your virtual event, you are welcome to contact potential sponsors in this regard. You will need to collect the mailing address of any winners and post their spot prizes to them after your event ends.

Can we take photos/screenshots of our event?

We do not require official evidence from you that your virtual event took place, but we would still love to receive screenshots from your event. You will need to get the permission of everyone in attendance for their photo to be captured in a screenshot. We would recommend asking for everyone’s permission in the “chat” or “question” function box of virtual event platforms. You could also suggest that people turn their “video” off, if they do not want to be visible in a screenshot.

What if a participant does not wish to be photographed/visible in a screenshot?

If a participant does not wish to be photographed or visible in a screenshot, you will not be able to take a screenshot of the whole group. You could suggest that people turn their “video” off if they do not want to be visible in a screenshot. As hosts, you are responsible for ensuring you have the permission of all your participants to take any photos/screenshots. By sending in photos/screenshots to Women’s Health Action, you are agreeing that you have permissions from all those in the images.

Do we need to complete feedback forms?

Yes, all hosts will be required to complete a feedback form. This will include telling us the number of people who attended your virtual event. Feedback forms will be emailed to all hosts after your event. Your feedback is really important to us, particularly as we are running a new virtual initiative this year. The feedback you provide us is always greatly appreciated.