Last month I had a mom ask me at a La Leche League meeting if I was going to be helping put together the Big Latch On here in the Antelope Valley. I hadn't planned on it at the time, but after doing some research it seemed like a fairly easy event to host.
What is the Big Latch On, you ask? It's a global event for breastfeeding and exclusively pumping mothers. Mothers in each community gather together to all feed their babies at the same time, on the same day, for 1 minute. That's right, thousands of mothers across the globe latched their babies on the breast, or the breast pump, simultaneously. The goal is to raise breastfeeding awareness, connect local mothers with breastfeeding resources, AND try to beat the global record of the most mothers and babies latched on simultaneously. Last years record was 14,536.
Fast forward a few weeks to Saturday, August 2nd, the day of the Big Latch on Antelope Valley. I had two colleagues help me with hosting this successful event, Dawn Bower, IBCLC, and Tesa Kurin, CD. Dawn and Tesa opened their office space to host the Big Latch On. We had goodie bags full of awesome free stuff (I contributed red raspberry leaf tea in muslin tea bags) for the first 25 people who arrived. There were 14 vendor tables with local businesses from a cloth diaper and mama cloth WAHM company, to a local BWI chapter. Each vendor offered something unique and exciting. One of my favorite Childbirth Educators, Dorene Vaughn, had a booth with her famous Lactation Cookies. The local ICAN of AV chapter was there, with Doula Anna Tumulty as their rep, and so many more wonderful business women.
Come 9:30 there was a line out the door! Everyone came in and got their goodie bags, registered, and started visited the vendors. At 10:20 everyone gathered into the large class room space to start the count down for the Latch On. 10:30.....LATCH ON! We had 29 total babies latched on, including a tandem nursing mama! I've got to tell you, seeing this many mamas breastfeeding all at once was something I won't forget. It's a huge reminder of why I am a La Leche League Leader, why I advocate breastfeeding EVERYDAY, and why I am a birth doula! The support of our community, which 15 years ago was nowhere where it is now, was humbling. I thanked each mom for coming, and congratulated them on giving their babies breastmilk.
Towards the end of the event we raffled off a diaper bag full of goodies, and everyone signed our "I LOVE Breastfeeding" canvas. The event was awesome! We had over 50 attendees, 29 latched babies, 14 vendors, and 3 very pleased hostesses.
The numbers are IN! Here are the numbers from the Big Latch On's website:
The Global Big Latch On, an International Synchronized Breastfeeding Celebration for World Breastfeeding WeekFinal Count
On Friday 1st August and Saturday 2nd August at 10:30am each day, women and their children came together round the world and breastfed simultaneously as part of the Global Big Latch On.
This year the Big Latch On has grown with 826 locations registered across 31countries. Our final count numbers are as follows (all numbers are provisional):
13,798 children breastfeeding during the one-minute count
14,173 breastfeeding women attended
23,906 people attended registered Global Big Latch On locations to support breastfeeding.
“We are so close to the Global Big Latch On record (14,536 set in 2013) and this year we have grown to include more countries than ever before and to become more inclusive. We look forward to next year with excitement and we know that numbers are not the whole story. This event builds communities one latch at a time, increases support for all families and helps to change global culture around breastfeeding. It is really important that we continue to make breastfeeding in public a normal and supported part of having a child.”
“Congratulations to everyone.”
What a wonderful way to to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week! Thank you Tesa, Dawn, all of our vendors, and of course, BREASTFEEDING mamas and babies for making this event possible!
PEACE, LOVE, BREASTFEED,