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Big Latch On’ supports local mums to breastfeed

Breastfeeding mothers across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes are set to join thousands of other women around the world to simultaneously breastfeed their babies in public.

Big Latch On events are held during World Breastfeeding Week; an annual worldwide event held in the first week of August to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding and normalise breastfeeding as part of everyday life. This year’s theme is about working together to empower parents and enable breastfeeding, now and for the future.

Breastfeeding is a team effort. Support from immediate whānau and the wider community can create an enabling environment that empowers mothers to breastfeed. When mothers have close support from partners, families, workplaces and communities breastfeeding rates improve.

A recent study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal looked at attitudes towards public breastfeeding in New Zealand. It found that 75% of Kiwis are supportive of women breastfeeding in public. While this is encouraging, it also shows the need to continue to influence those who are not supportive, and to empower women to feel more confident to breastfeed in public.

Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora) supports the Big Latch On and recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue to breastfeed along with the introduction of solid foods until the baby is at least one year old. Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack, says, “Breastfeeding is about giving your baby the very best start in life that he or she could possibly have. Breastfeeding gives your baby all the nourishment he or she needs for the first few months, and it's so vital for strengthening that very special bond between you and your baby.” Dr Shoemack adds, “The Big Latch On helps create opportunities for breastfeeding to be celebrated as a normal everyday occurrence.”

Big Latch On events are taking place all over the country on Friday 2nd August and Saturday 3rd August.

Friday 2nd August:

Whakatāne – 10am, Te Tohu O Te Ora O Ngati Awa, 15 Golf Links Road, Whakatāne
Tauranga – 10am, Papamoa Plaza, 7 Gravatt Rd, Papamoa
Tauranga – 10am, Tauranga Parents Centre, Historic Village, 17th Ave, Tauranga
Rotorua – 9:15am, Central Mall, 1170 Amohau Street, Rotorua
Rotorua – 9:45am, Rotorua Library, 1127 Haupapa Street, Rotorua
Turangi –10am, Awhi House, 17 Paekiri Street, Turangi.
Saturday 3rd August:
Waihi Beach – 10am, Flatwhite Café, 21 Shaw Road, Waihi Beach.
Taupō – 10am, Central Plateau REAP, 73 Titiraupenga Street, Taupō.
Those who cannot attend a Big Latch On event don’t need to miss out! A virtual Big Latch On event has been created via the Big Latch On Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/BigLatchOnNZ which encourages breastfeeding Mums to post breastfeeding selfies with the hashtag #biglatchonNZ or #BrelfieNZ.

For more information about Big Latch On events and World Breastfeeding Week, visit www.womens-health.org.nz. Toi Te Ora’s position statement on breastfeeding can be found at www.toiteora.govt.nz/vdb/document/554.

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