Earlier this weekend, women across the globe joined in a concerted effort to break the world’s record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously. At 10:30 am on Saturday, women celebrated the last day of World Breastfeeding Week by joining in the “Big Latch-On,” an effort to get as many women as possible to breastfeed for at least one minute at exactly the same time.
Women from New Zealand to Dallas participated in the event, sponsored by the La Leche League, an organization which provides support to breastfeeding women. The first record for the most women breastfeeding at the same time in a single location was set in Berkeley, CA, in 2002, by 1,130 mothers and their children. And most recently, in October 2010, 9,826 nursing mothers were recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries. The numbers aren’t out yet for Saturday’s event, but judging by the amount of news coverage, another record may have been set.
Participating in the “Big Latch-On” seemed to be an overwhelmingly positive experience. After all, as a promoter observed on the event’s blog,
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.
Some women said that they felt as though they were part of the movement to make breastfeeding less taboo. ”This sheds a good light on breast-feeding,” said one DeKalb, Illinois woman who was participating with her 13-month-old son. “Don’t feel ashamed to breast-feed in public.”
Others explained that they wanted to promote breastfeeding’s health benefits. Just last week, the CDC issued guidelines to hospitals, explaining that breastfeeding could reduce childhood obesity, in addition to providing a number of other benefits to mothers and infants. And still others said they simply wanted some maternal camaraderie.
Whatever the reason (and regardless of whether a record was set), the number of women who were willing to take the time for a few moments on Saturday morning to express their support for breastfeeding is heartening and important. It’s a wonderful way to end this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.
Photo from c r z via flickr.
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