Northland health officials expect this year's public breastfeeding event - The Big Latch On - to attract record numbers of mums and babies with the region having a high rate of breastfeeding among new mothers.
Mothers leaving Northland DHB hospitals have an impressive 94.5 per cent exclusive breastfeeding rate thanks to the support of the midwifery, nursing staff, lead maternity carers and lactation consultants working hard to give them the best start possible, the DHB says.
Northland mothers also topped the statistics at last year's Big Latch On at Toll Stadium in Whangārei with 85 babies counted latching during the official count. The Big Latch On is part of the Global World Breastfeeding week held from August 1-7.
The annual event involves thousands of women from different cultures and backgrounds gathering together at more than 100 registered venues throughout the country to access community and peer-to-peer support and to breastfeed their children. For those that can't make it to a venue they can share their breastfeeding/expressing photos online to the Big Latch On Facebook page with the tag #BigLatchOnNZ.
The Big Latch On supports communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion. It provides an opportunity for women to make new friends, network and feel more confident about breastfeeding (particularly in public) and ultimately aims to reduce some of the most common barriers to breastfeeding continuation.
The Clark Road Chapel, 4-6 Clark Rd, Kamo, will be the venue for this year's Whangārei event on August 2, and Northland DHB lactation consultant Helen Wellington is hoping to beat last year's record and hit at least 100 latch ons.
Mums and their children should be at the venue by 9.30am to be ready in time for the official latch on at 10.30am. All breastfed (or bottle fed with breastmilk) babies will be counted and those that can't make it can tune in online.