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The Big Latch On

EVENT DETAILS:
- The Big Latch On took place on Friday, August 5 2011 with the countdown at 10.30am.

- The New Zealand record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously has been broken with 1564 women breastfeeding simultaneously across the country at one of the 134 registered venues.

- To find individual venue latched on numbers go to http://www.womens-health.org.nz/index.php?page=big-latch-on-2011.

- The Dowse Art Museum had an amazing turnout with 93 breastfeeding women who brought with them 25 supporters and approx 110 babies/children so a whopping 230 people!

- We are delighted with the commitment and enthusiasm of the Big Latch On coordinators nationwide and their amazingly supportive communities throughout Aotearoa. This is a valuable opportunity to celebrate breastfeeding and bring together members of the community. This result is a positive sign that we are strengthening breastfeeding support in New Zealand.

WHY A BIG LATCH ON?
- To celebrate breastfeeding mums and babies

- To promote the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, mums and society at large

- To send a message that breastfeeding anytime, anyplace, anyhow is ok, and to provide a safe space for mums to try breastfeeding in public for the first time

- To create community awareness - Many New Zealanders have not grown up with breastfeeding as a normal, natural part of life. It is events like the Big Latch On that convey what breastfeeding actually looks like, and help dispel the perception that breastfeeding in public is somehow obscene or offensive.

IS THERE STILL SOCIAL STIGMA ABOUT BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC?
- Although in the past there has been discrimination against women breastfeeding in public, we hear so many more supportive positive stories now, there really is a shift in public perceptions of breastfeeding. However there are still individuals who respond negatively to women breastfeeding in public which is why events like the Big Latch On are still important.

- Breastfeeding is a very normal part of life and overwhelmingly positive for mother and baby. Breastfeeding in public can only help to make people more familiar and more comfortable with breastfeeding as they see it become part of normal daily public life.

WHY DO YOU THINK BREASTFEEDING IS SO IMPORTANT?

For child
- Breastmilk is more easily digested than milk from another animal

- Protects against gastrointestinal illness, respiratory illness, ear and urinary tract infections, and eczema

- Reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life

- Reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

For women
- Breastmilk is free, always fresh and immediately available with no preparation required

- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer in mothers

- Breastfeeding can help prevent ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and endometrial cancer later in later life

- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

- The ongoing production of milk in the mother burns calories

PSYCHOLOGICALLY:
- Breastfeeding promotes secure attachment because while breastfeeding, a mother is available, in tune with the needs of her child, showing affection, and comforting her child (Granju and Kennedy 1999).

- Depressed Mothers and Infants are more relaxed during breastfeeding - Tiffany Field1,2, Miguel Diego1, Maria Hernandez-Reif3, Barbara Figueiredo1,4, Shauna , Ezell2, and Vijaya Siblalingappa2 (2010).

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