Yesterday I hosted for the second year The Big Latch On, a worldwide breastfeeding event, held during World Breastfeeding Week, August 1st-7th. When I hosted the event in 2011 my son was just over two months old and I had about a week to organize it. It was something I stumbled upon via facebook and thought instantly, "I've got to do it". Even with short notice I pulled together a great group of twenty five moms, we had a professional photographer taking pictures (Bowie local William Petruzzo of Petruzzo Photography, and refreshments donated by local businesses, Chick-fil-A for beverages and The Big Kernel (another Bowie business which can be found at our own Bowie Farmers Market every weekend). As a new mom, breastfeeding especially in public can be very challenging. You often spend more time worrying about what others around you are thinking rather than focussing on feeding your child, which is exactly what you are doing... nothing more.
This years event was even better and I can not be happier about our turnout. With roughly two months planning I was able to have another professional photographer (Julie Blum Photography from Silver Spring), refreshments donated by local businesses, Chick-fil-A for beverages again and Mason's Milk and Mommy's Cookies (lactation cookies for the moms & kids to enjoy). Before I go on I must say that I cannot speak higher of Julie, our photographer. She shot the event for free and captured some amazing pictures. She really worked with the moms and kids to get some priceless shots! I was also able to secure donations from roughly thirty companies who provided gifts for swag bags and door prizes. When the event started we ended up having fourty-six kids nursing, with fourty-four moms able to latch at the "official" time. You read right... one set of twins and another mom tandem nursing her two kids. This year almost 9,000 children nursed in the Big Latch On, in 23 different countries. If breastfeeding is so controversial, then why are so many people and places doing it!?
We are blessed to live in Maryland where state law protects a mother and childs right to breastfeed, anywhere the mother and child are permitted to be. While some mothers choose not to breastfeed or cannot, it truely is best for the child as well as the mother. Did you know that breastfeeding reduces a mothers risk of breast cancer by as much as 25 percent? Did you know that you burn roughly 500 calories daily while breastfeeding? Did you know that it reduces the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer? Did you know that it helps your bank account? Formula feeding costs roughly $1,200 a year. Did you know that breastfeeding lessens your chance of developing osteoperosis? Moms who do not breastfeed are four times more likely to develop osteoperosis.
So, how did The Big Latch On 2012 go down? I arrived at Annapolis Mall (I hosted the event there last year as well, public setting and has a/c) at roughly 9am to start setting up. The mall staff is amazing and really works with me and supports our cause. After setting up chairs, with the help of a few moms and dads we started sign-in around 10am. Nursing necklaces which were donated from Teething Bling a Maryland based company for all the moms were handed out at sign-in. Around 10:20am, the moms were asked to take a seat and get settled. At 10:29am a countdown started and at 10:30am worldwide on August 4th, 2012 moms latched on their little one(s) and breastfed for at least one minute! Again we had 44 moms nursing a total of 46 little ones at the "official" time! After the event door prizes were given out and refreshments served. Our mamas stayed and talked for awhile and picked up their swag bags on the way out. With so much support from local businesses, many from Bowie; won't you join us next year? Even if you aren't nursing, if you just want to learn more about breastfeeding and it's benefits or just want to cheer us on... we would love to have you!
Thanks again to this years sponsors!
From Bowie, Maryland:
* Mason's Milk and Mommy's Cookies
* SunSight Photography and Productions
* Julie Blum Photography (Photographer for the event... AMAZING!)
* California Pizza Kitchen of Annapolis
* Noodles & Co of Annapolis
* Effective Chiropractic
* Chick-fil-A of Annapolis
* Applebee's of Annapolis
* Teething Bling
* Pampered Mommas
To learn more about The Big Latch On, please visit: www.BigLatchOn.org
To be put on a mailing list for the 3rd annual Big Latch On-Annapolis Mall, please email me at: MasonsMilkandMommysCookies@gmail.com