Mothers join in breastfeeding record

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 04/08/2012

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Palmerston North mothers whipped off their bras in unison with thousands of other women all over the world in a show of support for breastfeeding.

Mums and babies celebrated the 20th World Breastfeeding Week with "The Big Latch On" yesterday.

About 20 mothers gathered at Community Birth Services by the Square to feed their children, making it one of 120 locations in 18 countries where women are attempting to break a simultaneous breastfeeding world record of 1564 people.

First-time mum Kelly Duxfield was there to acknowledge the support she had received after difficulty breastfeeding her four-month-old daughter Sophia.

Baby Sophia had "tongue tie" which meant her tight frenulum - the bit that attaches the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth - prevented her from feeding properly.

"For us, breastfeeding week means we can celebrate how far we have come overcoming many obstacles on our way in our breastfeeding journey," Mrs Duxfield said. "There needs to be more awareness in the community and among the medical profession regarding tongue ties and the impact they can have on breastfeeding."

Lactation consultant Jacky Wheeler, who was at the event, had given her some much needed advice. Mothers needed to be aware of how an "incorrect latch", insufficient milk transfer or emptying of the breasts during breastfeeding could lead to issues such as mastitis, Mrs Duxfield said.

Another first time mum, Kushla Mercer, and 2-year-old son Morrison were at their third Latch On event.

She said it had been great to see Kiwis grow more comfortable with women breastfeeding in public.

"I have always done it - I was lucky enough that I grew up with a mum [who found public] breastfeeding was really normal. She breastfed until we were self-weaned.

"It's important for women to breastfeed in public because it helps to normalise it.

"Breasts are part of our sexuality but the original point of a breast is to nourish a baby and people should remember that when women breastfeed in public - it's not an obscene thing to do."

Community Birth Services trustee and event organiser Helen Griffin said breastfeeding was an important part of the relationship between mother and child.

"Scientifically, if you look at the benefits of breastfeeding, they are huge, for women. It develops a very close bond with the child."

The Community Birth Services centre supports women during and after their pregnancies, and breastfeeding women are encouraged to attend its "Mama and Pepi" cafe sessions held at the centre every Monday between 1 and 3pm.

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- Manawatu Standard

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