A total 56 people came out Saturday for the first Big Latch On event in LaGrange.
The Big Latch On is a global event to promote breastfeeding and held each year during World Breastfeeding Week. This was the first year the event was held in LaGrange, where women started breastfeeding their children at 10:30 a.m., in sync with the rest of the world.
The local event was hosted by Bonnie-Joy Allen of the Facebook group Naturally Moms at the Lloyd Presbyterian Church Community Center.
“It’s always exciting to see people from different walks of life come together with a common goal,” said Allen in a written statement. “In this case, the goal being to encourage breastfeeding mothers and normalize one of the most basic human instincts that has unfortunately become somewhat taboo. Time to get back to basics.”
Attendees including moms, dads and children, with 20 mothers latching their babies at 10:30 a.m.
“I am so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing group of women who all came together to support each other,” said attendee Samantha Barber in a written statement. “I pray that by seeing what a great success The Big Latch On was other mothers will choose to join us in trying to normalize breastfeeding.”
Added Laura French Hicks: “It was so exciting to watch all of these wonderful mothers and babies come together to celebrate such huge accomplishments and milestones with breastfeeding. Being a successful breastfeeding mother takes love and support from everyone around them. I am so thankful that we have such a large group of cheerleaders to come together for The Big Latch On and I pray that other mothers know that there is support out there.”
Samples and giveaways were donated, including lactation cookies, organic nipple cream, T-shirts, Boba wrap infant carrier, gift certificates, Thirty-One bags and washable breast pads.
Local sponsors were Back to Life Chiropractic, FMJ Armory, Realtor Angie Cotton Jones, Mud Creek Graphics and Baby Elements Boutique of Columbus.
World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, 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, according to a press release.
The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005. The goal this year was to break the current Global Big Latch On record of 14,536.
Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies/children, and babies/children 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, according to a release. 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 two years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.