Breastfeeding is a superpower that women could brag about; it gives nourishment to a new life. Breastfeeding supports the growth and proper development of a newborn. It establishes a close bond between mom and baby, and it can help prevent postpartum depression in new moms. Breastfeeding can even reduce the baby’s risk of obesity and diabetes, while simultaneously helping mom to prevent heart disease and some types of cancer in her own body. The list goes on and on!
Yet this practice sometimes carries with it a social stigma that leaves new moms feeling judged and unwelcome for their decision to breastfeed their baby in public, despite the incredible health benefits it totes.
Fortunately, breastfeeding is becoming more and more visible, encouraged, and recommended. In fact, a global effort is deep underway to make breastfeeding the most common practice for feeding new babies. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life1, and the Healthy People 2020 goals include objectives related to increasing the proportion of infants who are breastfed2.
In addition to these large-scale public health efforts, breastfeeding is also celebrated every August during World Breastfeeding Week. This internationally-recognized week is coordinated by organizations and individuals dedicated to the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding worldwide, also known as the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, or WABA.3 This year, World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, 2019.
The Global Big Latch On
One important element of World Breastfeeding Week is the Global Big Latch On event. During this annual synchronized breastfeeding event, people gather together at a specified time, either in-person or virtually, to breastfeed and offer peer support to one another. Friends, spouses, family, and community members are always invited to join the celebration as well, helping to empower breastfeeding moms and their babies. This worldwide peer support and community development event seeks to strengthen national and global support for breastfeeding with the goal of improving health for children and women worldwide.
Local organizations volunteer to host Big Latch On events in their own community. Last year, almost 60,000 people across 28 countries participated in the Global Big Latch On events.
The Global Big Latch On events aim to raise awareness of breastfeeding, encourage support networks between breastfeeding people, and normalize breastfeeding as a part of daily life.
So what’s happening locally?
Glad you asked! In Sitka, SEARHC is hosting a local event at the Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center’s Island Skillet Café. The “Big Latch” will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 3rd, and participants are encouraged to arrive by 10:00 a.m. to register and get settled with their little ones and any other guests. Prizes, giveaways, and healthy snacks will be provided at this free community event.
To learn more about how SEARHC is celebrating in Sitka, contact Susan Ward, RN, at 907-966-8721. For more information about the global effort, visit www.biglatchon.org.
For more information about breastfeeding your baby or any of your pre- or postnatal care needs, contact SEARHC at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.