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More mums and babies join the Big Latch On event

CARLY TAWHIAO
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2010
LATCH ON
JASON OXENHAM
LATCH ON: The Big Latch On event at Pt Chevalier’s Mud Pie Deli helped celebrate World Breastfeeding Awareness Week. From left: Carrie Rae Cunningham with children three-year-old Iris and nine-month-old Truvy, Joanne Joyce with her sevenmonth- old daughter Erin and Cheryl Taylor with her six-month-old son Caleb.

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A six-year-old event that promotes breastfeeding in public is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Big Latch On is enjoying increasing community support to highlight World Breastfeeding Week 2010, which is celebrated annually in the first week of August. In recognition of raising awareness of breastfeeding, a group of mothers visited the Mud Pie Deli in Pt Chevalier last Friday to breastfeed in unison.

Mum-of-three Carrie Rae Cunningham says she thinks the Big Latch On is a great initiative because it lets breastfeeding women come out in packs.

"For cafes to host us is one way for the public to accept that breastfeeding is a natural and positive experience."

Fellow mum Joanne Joyce says although it can be difficult at the start learning to breastfeed, it becomes a lot easier.

"Everything is quite overwhelming in the beginning," she says. "It's definitely not something that comes at the click of your fingers but now it's great. It should be celebrated and promoted."

Cheryl Taylor agrees.

"Practice makes perfect and you definitely get plenty of practice. For people it's a personal decision but it's important to raise the profile of breastfeeding."

Last year's Big Latch On attracted more than 1300 hungry babies throughout 115 venues nationwide. Mud Pie Deli's event organiser, La Leche League volunteer Barbara Sturmfels, says this year's effort set a new record with more than 1400 participants in 134 public locations.

"There are big events and small events. Some venues attract between 60 and 70 mothers."

But Mrs Sturmfel says despite its growing popularity, more information is needed to help provide practical tips for breastfeeding mothers and more support groups need to be established.

"It can be really hard to go outside your circle to find help, or to recognise the sort of problem you'd need to get help with. It's a learning experience for both of you and when you've got through it and it becomes very easy and convenient, they'll be really glad."

For information call 940-6455 or visit www.lalecheleague.org.nz.

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