SIDNEY — Are you a breastfeeding mother? If so, the Global Big Latch On is looking for you.
On Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1, breastfeeding mothers around the world will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with Big Latch On gatherings. In Sidney, the Big Latch On gathering will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Aug. 1 on the lawn of the Shelby County Courthouse.
Organizer Meghan Moniaci, of Sidney, said this is the first time such an event has been held in Shelby County. In 2014, 14,173 breastfeeding women took part in the event. There were 826 locations in 31 countries around the world, with a total of 23,906 people in attendance. There were 13,798 breastfeeding children at the event.
In 2013, a world record was set with 14,536 children breastfeeding at the same moment around the world.
“Breastmilk provides the initial nutritions for babies,” said Moniaci, who is a WIC (Women Infant and Children) officer for the Auglaize County Health Department. “Breastfeeding mothers don’t always get the support they need to have this be a successful part of their life.”
Moniaci is a member of the Lima La Leche League, which supports mother-to-mother sharing and is a support group for mothers who are breastfeeding.
“Auglaize and Shelby counties haven’t had a La Leche League in 20 or more years,” said Moniaci. “I’m hoping this will help kick off bringing a group back to the area.
“We are in a breastfeeding desert in providing support for mothers,” she said.
The actual “latch on” will be held from 10:30-10:31 a.m., said Moniaci. Mothers and babies need to register for the event 30 minutes before it starts.
Activities will be planned from 9-11 a.m. on Aug. 1.
“Wilson Hospital will have their IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant) at the event. They will also be providing water.
“The Shelby County Health Department’s WIC office will provide breastfeeding resources,” she said. “I’m also lining up ‘mini-sessions’ for the mothers and their support people to attend.”
The Rebecca Foundation, which provides cloth diaper education, will conduct one of the mini-sessions, she said. The group provides diapers to low-income mothers.
“We’ll also have a local babywearing group, which will show different ways mothers can carry their babies in a safe way. The bond a mother has with a baby is very important.”
She said she is looking for a fitness group to do a “Mommy and Me” exercise program.
Moniaci, who is the mother of two, breastfed both of her children.
“It was rough the first time,” she said, “and much more successful the second time.”
Door prizes will also be given away, she said. One of the prizes is from Samozrejme, a natural mothering boutique in Troy.
“I’m really excited about the event,” said Moniaci. “I’m hoping to have 30 breastfeeding moms and their support people at the event. Right now, we have eight or nine who are confirmed.”
She’s hoping mothers from the Lima, Wapakoneta, Piqua and Troy areas come to the Big Latch On.
Last year, events were held in Findlay and Cincinnati.
The Sidney gathering will be held during the Downtown Farmers Market.
“The farmer’s market will be around the sidewalk at the courtsquare, while we’ll be in the lawn area of the courthouse,” said Moniaci.
All mothers — including potential, pregnant and breatfeeding — are invited to attend the event.
The goals of Big Latch On are:
• Support for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion.
• Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available in communities.
• Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places.
• Make breastfeeding a normal part of the day-to-day life at a local community level.
• Increase support for women who breastfeed — women are supported by there partners, family and the breastfeeding knowledge that is embedded in their communities.
• Ensure communities have the resources to and/or advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.
The Big Latch On started in New Zealand by Women’s Health Action in 2005 as part of World Breasfeeding Week. In 2010, the event was introduced in Portland, Oregon, by Small Belongings Group. In 2011, the La Leche League USA joined the movement to launch it across the United States.
The worldwide event is coordinated by Small Beginnings Group LLC and Women’s Health Action.
For more information, visit the Facebook site, facebook.com/biglatchonsidneyohio.