On this Friday the 3rd and Saturday 4th of August, thousands of kiwi parents will be gathering at registered locations throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to take part in the annual Big Latch On.
The Big Latch On is part of World Breastfeeding Week celebrations and was started by Women’s Health Action in 2005. The event has taken off globally with over 40,000 women and children taking part in 2017. In 2017, nearly 2,000 women and babies took part at venues or online through the #BrelfieNZ campaign.
“It is shaping up to be a great event,” says Isis McKay, Women’s Health Action’s Maternal and Child Health Manager. “We already have over 98 venues registered in towns and cities throughout the North and South Islands.”
Women who are unable to make it to a venue can take part virtually via #BrelfieNZ, flooding Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with gorgeous and diverse feeding selfies. Want to join in? Simply post a breastfeeding selfie, or “brelfie”, with the hashtag #BrelfieNZ on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
“Although this event is part of the global World Breastfeeding Week celebrations, we recognise that not every parent can or chooses to breastfeed,” says Isis. “We want the Big Latch On to be a positive and inclusive event. This event is not just about celebrating breastfeeding, it is about support and recognising all the ways in which mums, dads, families, and whānau share the nurturing of our babies,” says Isis.
Tash Wharerau, Women’s Health Action’s Northland-based Health Promoter, says positive events like the Big Latch On are just what their communities need. “We have some really isolated families in the north and this event helps bring whānau and support services together in a supportive and non-judgmental setting. There is so much focus on what’s ‘wrong’ with our Northland whānau, so it is important that we acknowledge the great things happening up here, we deserve to celebrate our achievements,” says Tash. According to recent Well Child/Tamaraiki Ora Stats Northland DHB ranks 3rd equal for exclusive breastfeeding rates at 6 months, with approximately 27% of infants fed to the Ministry of Health recommendations.
Check out www.biglatchon.org.nz for more information about national events.
To connect with other Big Latch On participants and hosts, ‘Like’ the Big Latch On Facebook page.