On August 3rd at 10:00 a.m. at the Sculpture Park on Locust Street between 13th and 15th Streets in Des Moines, mothers and other interested persons are invited to gather for “The Big Latch On – Des Moines,” a global event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. From precisely 10:30-10:31, mothers and their babies/ children will “latch on” and breast feed for one minute.
From August 1st-7th of every year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes World Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the World Health Organization/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals.
At 10:30 a.m. on both Friday, August 2nd and Saturday, August 3rd, thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the “Big Latch On”, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations.
The first Big Latch On took place in New Zealand in 2005 and was introduced to Portland, Oregon in 2010 by Joanne Edwards. It has now taken off globally, and in 2012, 8,862 children were counted breastfeeding as part of the global Big Latch
On. This year, organizers are aiming to once again break this record.
Studies show that babies and 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 (both mom and baby.) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.
The Big Latch On is informed by the principles of community development, providing the opportunity for breastfeeding women to get together in their local communities, host their own events, and identify opportunities for on-going support.