Latch On! came the cry on the dot of 10am.
And the babies didn't have to be told a second time.
With that, the 20 willing babies and their breast-feeding mothers at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki library, joined the national feeding frenzy yesterday.
The pressure was on to beat last year's New Zealand record of 1306 breastfeeding mums and babies during the annual international World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action awareness campaign. This was achieved with a grand total of 1474 "latching on".
Mother-of-four Tarryn Osborne joined in, feeding one of her twins, 11 1/2-month-old Jacob. Jacob's twin, who was home with a bug, had to miss out on the occasion.
Mrs Osborne says she's a strong advocate of breastfeeding and has fed all four of her children.
"But I've fed the twins the longest. I had more support this time. When I found out I was having twins, I was determined to breast feed," she said.
"I love it. It's so easy, so bonding," Mrs Osborne said.
La Leche League North Taranaki branch leader Connor Kelly has for 15 years now spread the breastfeeding message in the four different countries she has lived in – the United States, Germany, Italy and New Zealand – and has the multi-lingual shirt to prove it.
"Breastfeeding is normal and not breastfeeding is not," is her catchcry.
She urges employers to help breastfeeding mothers who return to work early to be allowed flexible hours in order to continue feeding their babies.
"New Plymouth is a small town and babies can be very accessible."
And in another message to employers, she says busy mothers can be a boon to any workplace because they work quickly and efficiently in order to get home to their children, Ms Kelly says.
The league meets at St Andrew's church hall at 10am on the second Tuesday of the month offering support to feeding mothers. League volunteers are available on the phone any time of the day.
This year, the theme highlights the 10 baby-friendly steps. In New Zealand it is also marks the 20th anniversary of hospitals adopting those 10 steps.
The steps include having a breastfeeding policy and training all the organisation's staff in implementing that policy.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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