From en-masse marae sit-ins and mum ‘n bub coffee groups in city malls, to a mammillary gathering on a pig farm and a maternal meeting at a cheese factory, Big Latch On events celebrate the all-important role breast feeding plays in babies’ lives, and on 31 July and 1 August there will be one at a venue near you.From Invercargill to Doubtless Bay, there are more than 100 Big Latch On events planned around the country. The Women’s Health Action initiative will see thousands of women from different cultures and backgrounds simultaneously breastfeeding their babies in public events nationwide.Women’s Health Action’s Maternal Health Promoter, Isis McKay, who organises The Big Latch On, says the aim of the event is to break down some of the barriers that get in the way of women being able to meet their own breastfeeding goals.“Big Latch On events offer women tangible support in a fun environment.“Taking part in the Big Latch On not only helps increase womens’ confidence to breastfeed in public, but they also connect with other mums in their communities.“We know women can’t always make it out to a physical Big Latch On event, so we encourage all women who wish, to take part by posting a breastfeeding selfie,” says Ms McKay.In 2014, More than 150 women sent in photos and many women found support from their peers via online conversations.“The Big Latch On is a positive event for women to take part in and we warmly encourage partners, family and friends to join in, too,” says Ms McKay.The Big Latch on events will take place in: Northland (5 events), Auckland (19), Waikato (13), Bay of Plenty (6), Hawke’s Bay (5), Gisborne (1), Manawatu/Whanganui (6), Taranaki (3), Wellington (8), Nelson/Tasman (3), Marlborough (1), Canterbury (11), West Coast (5), Otago (6) and Southland (3) .To find out where your nearest Big Latch On event is being held go to http://www.womens-health.org.nz/programmes/breastfeeding-activities/big-latch-on/participate/find-a-venue/ Women can post a breastfeeding selfie to #biglatchonNZ, www.facebook.com/biglatchonNZ.The Big Latch on is a Kiwi initiative that has caught on world-wide. Last year 14,536 babies took part in 845 events around the world. China, South Korea, Malaysia, North America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, UK and countries throughout Europe will take part in The Big Latch On 2015.“We are thrilled that the event Women’s Health Action NZ founded 11 years ago is now practiced in more than 31 countries.“To have women simultaneously ‘latching on’ with their babies at 10.30am here in NZ and all around the world is a very powerful demonstration of support as well as being lot of fun,” says Ms McKay.The Big Latch on marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week.ENDSFOR FURTHER INFORMATION, INTERVIEW AND PHOTO/FILMING OPPORTUNITIES PLEASE CONTACT PENNY HARTILL – hPR, 09 445 7525, 021 721 424, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hartillpr.co.nzEDITOR’S NOTES:Since 1984 Women’s Health Action has been at the forefront of women’s health in New Zealand. Founded by health activists Phillida Bunkle and Sandra Coney, the group came to national prominence when it broke the story of ‘the unfortunate experiment’ at National Women’s Hospital in Auckland.Women’s Health Action is a charitable trust which aims to provide women with high quality information and education services to enable them to maintain their health and make informed choices about their health care. The organisation has a health promotion and disease prevention focus, with special interests in breastfeeding and women’s health research and policy.www.womens-health.org.nzwww.facebook.com/biglatchonNZ #biglatchonNZBreastfeeding – some key facts:
- Breastfeeding helps lay the foundation of a healthy life for a baby and it’s good for the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding women too.
- Breast milk is all a baby needs to eat and drink for about the first six months of their life.
- For some women breastfeeding can be a struggle, especially if they do not have good support systems in place.
- Research highlights that a significant barrier to breastfeeding is women not feeling supported by their family, friends, and wider community, to breastfeed.
Benefits for baby:
- Breastfeeding decreases the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)
- Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of obesity and may help reduce the risk of diabetes in later life.
- Breastfeeding and breast milk helps protect your baby from chest infections, meningitis, ear infections and urine infections.
- Benefits for women:
- Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life.
- Breastfeeding reduces your risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding helps you recover from birth.