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The Big Latch On 2014

Public Breastfeeding Demonstration Celebrates Ten Years

The Big Latch On 2014

Women all over New Zealand will join forces in celebration of breastfeeding, taking part in The Big Latch On, the 2nd and 3rd of August.

The Women’s Health Action initiative - now in its 10th year - will see thousands of women from different cultures and backgrounds simultaneously breastfeeding their babies in public events nationwide.
Women’s Health Action Maternal and Child Health promoter, Isis McKay says The Big Latch On is all about celebrating and supporting breastfeeding women.

“84.4 percent of babies born in a New Zealand hospital are exclusively breastfed on discharge, a figure which puts us among the top in the OECD. This figure drops dramatically after six weeks and by the time the baby is six months, less than 20 percent of women are exclusively breastfeeding - which is one of the lowest rates in the OECD.

“Recognising that lack of support is one of the biggest hurdles to women continuing to breastfeed, The Big Latch On aims to celebrate this health-giving, mother – child bond with a massive public and on-line display.”

To mark the event’s decade anniversary, Women’s Health Action has initiated a virtual Big Latch On. For the first time, women can take part by posting a breastfeeding selfie to #biglatchonNZ www.facebook.com/biglatchonNZ.

“There is evidence that women increase their internet use by up to 45 percent after becoming mothers and if they’re back at work or unable to make it to a physical Big Latch On, this on-line option may work for them.

“We encourage all breastfeeding women and their whanau, partners and friends to take part in either their local Big Latch On, or by posting a breastfeeding photo online via #biglatchonNZ.”

In 2013 more than 130 breastfeeding events were held in venues throughout New Zealand. Each event is unique; shaped to fit each community’s ethos and culture.

“From a maternal gathering on a pig farm, to en-masse marae sit-ins, we’ve even had women taking part 30,000 feet in the air; an in-flight Big Latch On!

“We’re hoping for a record turnout of women, babies and supporters to celebrate ten years of The Big Latch On in New Zealand,” says Ms McKay.

The Kiwi non-profit organisation’s initiative has taken off internationally and is now run in 28 countries worldwide. Last year 14,536 babies took part in The Big Latch On events around the world.
The event has changed in focus over the ten years.

“Breastfeeding in public was still stigmatised ten years ago, so back then, The Big Latch On was fairly controversial. Our aim then was about gaining acceptance.

“While attitudes have changed, it is clear from the statistics that we need to keep reducing the barriers for women to be able to breastfeed for longer,” says Ms McKay.

To find out where your nearest Big Latch On event is being held go to www.biglatchon.org.nz

ENDS

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