|The big latch on|
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Jul 24, 2012
Last year, 5,687 mothers at 412 locations in five countries, simultaneously breast-fed their babies during a world event known as The Big Latch On — this year as the organizers seek to break this record, The Bahamas is expected to be in on the final count of breastfeeding women with their babies latched to them for one minute at a set time, to support and promote breastfeeding.
The Bahamas version of The Big Latch On, known as the Big Latch On Palooza will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 4, in the church hall at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Highbury Park. Organizers expect at least 400 women to participate at the event, according to Nurse Linelle Thompson, program coordinator of Lactation Management Services in the Department of Public Health who is also the education chairperson of the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association (BNBA).
On Friday, August 3, the clinics and hospitals around the country will be encouraged to have their mothers join the move by breastfeeding at the same time in their respective facilities.
The aim of The Big Latch On event is for communities to identify and grow opportunities to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion. Raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available in communities. Help communities positively support breastfeeding in public places. Make breastfeeding a normal part of the day-to-day life at a local community level. Increase support for women who breastfeed (women are supported by their partners, family and the breastfeeding knowledge that is embedded in their communities. Communities have the resources to advocate for coordinated appropriate and accessible breastfeeding support services.
For one mother, Jasadette Hepburn, the idea of the event is exciting as she is looking at it as a support group effort to let people know that breastfeeding is okay.
“I get so excited when I see a breastfeeding mother that I usually go and interrupt and say something like I’m so proud of you,” said the 24-year-old mother of a three-year-old son who she still breastfeeds and is hoping to continue to do so until her son attains his fourth birthday.
Hepburn, who is also the media consultant for The Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association said that through The Big Latch On Palooza, they will be pushing for more young women to breastfeed.
“More mature women breastfeed because they know the health issues involved with breastfeeding — not just for their babies, but for themselves as well in terms of lowering their risk of cancer and just getting slimmer after having the baby,” said Hepburn. “But younger women tend to just put the bottle into the baby’s mouth, so we’re trying to get all women to breastfeed,” she said.
Using herself as an example, Hepburn also provides the mother and child with an attachment.
“I was in my first year in college when I got pregnant, and it was depressing to me,” said the daughter of a nurse. “After I had my baby I was really distant from him —I didn’t want to breastfeed, I didn’t want to get close to him, and [my mom] was like, ‘J, breastfeed.’ After a month, I didn’t want anyone around him. It gave us an attachment and I came to the realization that I loved him so much,” she said.
Contrary to popular belief breastfeeding does not hurt. And that it is actually nipple feeding that hurts, which she said is incorrect. It will also hurt if the baby is not latched onto the breast properly as well.
As the BNBA gets ready to host the Big Latch On Palooza, Carlotta Klass, president of the organization said the World Health Organization recommends that all mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life. That means no water, no juice and no formula, and that mothers should continue to breastfeed the same way up to two years and beyond. She said there is really no cut off point. And that if a mother has to go to work that she can express her milk and allow someone to cup feed the baby, as giving the baby a nipple attached to a bottle confuses the baby.
As mothers breastfeed she said it’s also important that they maintain a proper breastfeeding posture in which the baby’s tummy will touch the mother’s tummy. The baby should be lying on its side at the mother’s breast.
And according to Nurse Thompson, the stories that most people hear about breastfeeding she said are just that — myths.
She said breastfeeding does not cause saggy breasts, but helps women to get their shape back.
The nurse also said that breast milk does not give babies gas when the mother has not eaten.
“That’s impossible, because breasts are not hooked up to the stomach, so you can’t give the baby gas.”
She said babies get gastric disturbances, when they take in milk designed for a 200-pound animal
“While studying at the University of West London, they showed me the stomach of two babies — one with the breast milk going in, and the next with the formula going in. The stomach is coil-shaped and you could see the breast milk going into the stomach lining it, coating it, sealing it and making it bacteria-proof. When the formula went into the next tummy, because it was so heavy, it stretched the gut right out. It reduces the immune system and causes gastric disturbances. Not only that, when you give the baby formula, more than two-thirds of that formula does not go anywhere and won’t be used by the baby,” she said. “Formula lies to the baby and gives the baby a false feeling of fullness and takes away the hunger and thirst for the breast.”
According to the nurse, most of the breast milk is absorbed into the baby’s system and only a small amount is left in the stomach, which is why the breast-fed baby would want to breast feed faster and why people would think they are not getting enough.
“It’s that they’re using their food, but the baby that’s getting the formula is not using their food,” she said.
Babies breastfed for two years are given special protection against salmonella and if the mother breastfeeds for three years, the baby gets protection against cholera.
Breastfeeding classes are offered in all government clinics and at the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association.
The Big Latch On is originally from New Zealand, and was started by Women’s Health Action in 2005 as part of World Breastfeeding Week. Each year, they have seen growth in the numbers of breastfeeding women attending and an increase in the support for breastfeeding in public. The Big Latch On was introduced to Portland, Oregon, in 2010 by Joanne Edwards in celebration for World Breastfeeding Week. In 2011, Edwards worked with Annie Brown and members of La Leche League USA to grow the Big Latch On across the United States. In an effort to further strengthen the Big Latch On mission to protect, promote and support breastfeeding women, and in recognition of increasing global participation in the Big Latch On, Women’s Health Action and the Big Latch On Global Coordinator Joanne Edwards joined forces for 2012.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1-7.
The breastfed toddler
Hair: Breastfed toddlers have glossier, healthier hair. Protein is a major functional and structural component of hair cells and is essential for growth and repair. After 12 months, 15 ounces of breastmilk provides 45 percent of a toddler’s protein requirements in its most natural form.
Brain: Higher intellectual and cognitive aptitude compared to formula-fed peers and peers breastfed for a shorter amount of time.
Ears: Breastfed toddlers have better hearing due to lower incidence of ear infections.
Eyes: As the eye is similar to the brain in regards to nervous tissue, breastfed toddlers have stronger vision. Also at 12 months (15 ounces) of breastmilk provides 75 percent of a toddler’s Vitamin A requirements. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye and is necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision.
Teeth: Thumb sucking is less likely to occur in breastfed toddlers so their teeth are less likely to become misaligned. Also, increased duration of nursing actually improves the dental arch.
Independence: Breastfeeding is part of meeting a child’s dependency needs, and this is the key to helping the child achieve independence. Children who achieve independence at their own pace are more secure in that independence than children forced into independence prematurely.
Weight: Toddlers who are breastfed for extended periods of time tend to have leaner bodies with less risk of obesity.
Limbs: Breastmilk is an excellent painkiller in the bums and bruises that come along with toddlers and climbing.
Taste buds: Breastfed toddlers are less likely to be fussy eaters. However, even if they through a fussy period, breastfed toddlers still get their taste buds stimulated by the range of flavors in their mommy’s milk.
Bones: Calcium is a mineral that strengthens bones. After 12 months, 15 ounces of breastmilk provides 36 percent of a toddler’s calcium requirements in its most natural form.
Immune system: At one year of age, a child’s immune system is functioning at 60 percent of adult level. The antibodies in breast milk continue to provide valuable protection during the toddler period. In fact, the immunological benefits of breastfeeding actually increase during the second and third years of nursing.
Skin: Smoother and more supple
Hydration: Although breastfed toddlers are less likely to become ill, if they do get sick, breast milk can keep them hydrated when they cannot tolerate other liquids.
Portability: Breastfed toddlers are easier to travel with. Nursing is far more convenient than carrying around feeding cups and paraphernalia, and can be a wonderful way of providing reassurance in unfamiliar surroundings.
• Source: mummiesnummies.com
10 reasons why breastfeeding doesn’t suck
• You’ll feel far less crazy: A study of postpartum mothers found that those who breastfed their babies showed far less anxiety and more mutuality at one mont postpartum that those who didn’t.
• It lowers the risk of adulthood cancers: One study found the risk of childhood cancer in formula-fed children was 2-8 times that of long-term breastfed children. The risk for short-term formula feeders was 1-9 times that of long-term breast feeders.
• ...And breast cancer in mothers: Get this — If women who breastfed for less than three months were to stick it out for four toe 12 months, breast cancer among parous premenopausal women could be reduced by 11 percent. And if they stayed with it for 24 months or longer, those risks could be reduced by nearly 25 percent.
• Smart kids rule: Studies show that breastfed babies have significantly higher IQs by eight years old than babies who didn’t breastfeed — even after adjusting the stats for differences between groups and mom’s educational and social class.
• You could save on braces: The longer you breastfeed, the lower the likelihood that baby will suffer from malocclusion — a fancy word for misalignment of the teeth and dental arches.
• It cuts down on childhood obesity: Breastfeeding has long been tied with reducing the rate of childhood obesity, regardless of Mom’s diabetes or weight status.
• Allergies and ailment are no biggie: Respiratory wheezing, influenza, diarrhea, allergies and eczema are way less common in breastfed babies — think about all those trips to the doc you won’t have to make.
• It saves lives: If just 90 percent of mothers breastfed exclusively for six months, an estimated 900 babies would live.
• Oh, and it’ll save you a ton of cash too: Believe it or not, formula supplies for just six months can cost upwards of $1,000.
• You’ll fit into your skinny jeans faster: Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories a day. Yes, really. Need we say more?