I found this post hanging out in a 2011 Global Big Latch On folder and wanted to share, its grown a bit since then!
This Saturday, Moms, babies, and people who love them will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with an attempt to break the record for most women breastfeeding simultaneously. This event originated in New Zealand several years ago, and was brought to the Pacific Northwest in 2010, when 518 women gathered in Oregon and Washington for the first U.S. “Big Latch On.” This year the event will be held across the U.S., and beyond, because, as organizer Joanne Edwards says, “I’m not very good at thinking small.”
Last year I was honored to support 33 mamas at a Big Latch On location in Beaverton, Oregon. Our group included friends and strangers, a new mom (and her mom) who left her house for the first time with her 4-day-old firstborn to join in and make new friends, and two grandmothers who wandered in for coffee and stayed to join the party.
As with everything about parenting, controversy followed. So this year, for those who attended and those who haven’t, here is an insiders guide to what the Big Latch On is and is not.
The Big Latch On is a celebration. We gather to have fun, to support each other, and to be part of a world record, because we, like everyone, want to be part of something extra-ordinary. We want to say “I was there”. “I helped make history.”
The Big Latch On is a rare event that is in support of something, without having to be opposed to something else. It is not a nurse-in or a protest. It is a gathering that happens at places that welcome hungry babies and the moms who feed them, where time and space is created to make something special out of something that is really quite ordinary. The child and parent-friendly businesses, clubs, and faith organizations that choose to open their doors for this event gain positive exposure and loyal customers, which, in turn, supports local the local economy and community.
The Big Latch On is as diverse as the families that join it. The moms who join will nurse one baby or more, from tiny infants to extended nursers, both biological and adopted, and using (or not using) a variety of nursing covers.
At a Big Latch On event, you will find mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends and family of infants and young children who come together with old friends and made new ones. You will talk and laugh, ask questions and offer support, schedule playdates and feed children. You will find a community to chat with about parenting challenges, including but not limited to breastfeeding.
One of the first questions the critics will pose is “Why is this a big deal?” They might suggest that we all celebrate other bodily fluids “‘Big Sweat On’, anyone?” The answer is that it’s a big deal because a lot of people will do it at the same time, plus it’s a lot of fun.
You can find a Big Latch On on this website. Join in, whether you’re a nursing mama or a supporter of healthy families. Make memories and friendships, and support the businesses that support this event!
Erin Ruff nursed her two children for a total of 1 year, 10 months and cried when they weaned. As most parents, she can’t find spare time lying around, though she does manage to dig up enough to spend on her knitting habit.