Metro-east mothers who want to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding can attend one of two local events Saturday in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1 through 7.
To mark the occasion, thousands of breastfeeding women and their children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Global Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event where women come together at registered locations around the world to all latch on their child at a set time. All breastfeeding women and children are latched on for one minute at the set time and are counted toward the world-wide participation goal.
A local Big Latch On will take place at Bellevue Park, 401 Bellevue Park Drive in Belleville, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. This event is sponsored by Memorial Hospital and the Edwardsville Region Breastfeeding Task Force.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is also holding an event Saturday in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Millennium Room, located on the first floor at 340 West Lincoln St. in Belleville. Mothers are encouraged to arrive by 10 a.m. for registration. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon and is free to all participants
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals. The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005, it was introduced to Portland, Oregon, in 2010 by Small Beginnings Group LLC and has now taken off globally.
This year, a goal is to beat the 2013 record of 14,536 children breastfeeding across 845 locations, and the 2014 records for numbers of 31 countries taking part, 14,173 breastfeeding women attending and 23,906 total attendance.
The long-term vision of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action is that one day a Global Big Latch On event will be held within walking distance of every family in the world.
Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies/children, and babies/children who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize benefits and continuing to breastfeed for two years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.
For more information about the Bellevue Park event, call 618-917-4241 or visit www.edwardsvillebftf.org.
For information about the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital event, call 618-234-2120, ext. 2545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.