More than 100 Northland mums turned out at venues around the region for Big Latch On events to celebrate Global World Breastfeeding week.

The annual event first started in New Zealand in 2005 by Women's Health Action. In 2010 the rest of the world joined in, and it is now a worldwide peer support and community development event aiming to strengthen national and global support for breastfeeding. Last year almost 40,000 mothers from around the world latched on over two days.

Northland DHB lactation consultant Helen Wellington was thrilled with the turnout for the Whangārei event on Friday which officially saw 80 mums latch on 10.30am at the Clark Road Chapel, Kamo.

Wellington said the tally was good considering the stormy weather and trialling the new location, which she said was the perfect venue for the mums and their babies. She was also pleased to see far more older children breastfeeding, which shows more mums are feeding for longer.


Wellington's daughter Kylee Parker has been organising the event for the past five years with Charlene Morunga. Parker said they were overwhelmed with the support they received from local businesses who came forward to offer products for spot prizes.

Mum of three Angela Lewis said she calls Wellington her best friend because without her support, she would've never been able to continue to breastfeed after having issues with her two-month-old baby Julia.

Latching on has been a difficult journey for Lewis and Julia, but with the support from lactation consultants at Whangārei Hospital at least once a day and then continual follow up with her once she got home has meant she is able to breastfeed. She also regularly attends the free lactation clinics to get ongoing support and meet up with other mothers.

Lewis' first two children were born in the United Kingdom during her OE. She said having a baby here at home in New Zealand is an entirely different experience, with support throughout pregnancy, to the birth and after.

"Today has been magic. It's such a good community event that brings everyone together because sometimes being at home can be lonely," she said.