July 2019 Newsletter – Learn More About Big Latch On Global!

By BMSG Editorial Team

The 1st to 7th August every year is celebrated as the World Breastfeeding Week. This is an initiative founded by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA for short. Many healthcare agencies and breastfeeding organisations around the world take this opportunity to raise awareness on breastfeeding. The Big Latch On is one such initiative which aims to normalise breastfeeding by bringing together mothers and all supporters in small gatherings around the world. It has grown to become an event which many communities look forward to annually.

An example of a Global Big Latch On session going on as captured from the Instagram account of the Global BLO [Credits: Global Big Latch On]

Who Makes Up Big Latch On (BLO) Global?

The BLO is an initiative that is run by two organisations. The first is The Women’s Health Action (WHA), which is a non-profit organisation and a registered charity, partially funded by the NZ Ministry of Health. The WHA started the BLO movement in New Zealand for the first time in 2005. The second organisation is Small Beginnings Group, LLC, which  is a small business that provides family wellness and lactation services in Portland, Oregon. 2019 marks the tenth year of the Global BLO!

In Singapore, Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore) (BMSG) organises this yearly to bring all breastfeeding mothers to a common venue in an act of support and solidarity to the breastfeeding cause. All breastfeeding women, their children and family members, including supporters like husbands and relatives, as well as breastfeeding advocates, are welcome to the event. 

What Do People Do at the Big Latch On?

The BLO provides the guideline for hosts who want to organise Big Latch On events in their community. As long as all activities are compliant with the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes, the event simply requires breastfeeding mothers to come together for a minute or two and simultaneously latch or pump/hand express during the stipulated time for the BLO. 

When the synchronised latching/pumping session ends, organisers will count the number of mothers who had taken part and the numbers will be added onto the global count of mothers who have breastfeed their babies during the Big Latch On. Pictorial evidence and documentations are required by the BLO to ensure honesty in its counting process.

BMSG conducting the Global BLO in 2017 at Hong Lim Park [Credits: Ash D Photography]

Notable Big Latch On Records

There have been many encouraging and inspiring numbers contributed by many breastfeeding communities around the world, with the biggest number, 3,738, of breastfeeding mothers gathered at a single location which occurred in the Philippines previously.

The BLO believes in supporting small and local groups for the following benefits: :

  • Breastfeeding mothers need not travel far to a location to participate in a Big Latch On event 
  • More breastfeeding women can take part in the Big Latch On in as many countries as possible
  • Keeping it local means higher opportunities for women living in the same area/country to meet and form more breastfeeding communities 
  • Having many locations mean that other entities and institutions, such as businesses and community places, can help to promote their support for breastfeeding which will help breastfeeding women know that they are welcomed in the community, which essentially can spark more conversations about breastfeeding

The more breastfeeding mothers come together, the more places mothers can refer to in order to give and receive support. While the BLO also recognises the importance of online spaces for mothers to come together and rally support, the BLO does not encourage any virtual synchronised events/meet-ups. 

Singapore’s Contribution to the BLO

BMSG x NUH Big Latch On in 2018 [Credits: BMSG Singapore]

This year, BMSG is organising the Big Latch On in just a few days’ time! This will be the seventh year that we are organising this event. As a provider of breastfeeding support and counselling, we appreciate any effort to bring breastfeeding to the fore; to normalise it, to create conversations and to provide education about it. 

We strongly believe events like the BLO are great conversation starters and will encourage many breastfeeding mothers to come together as a community. This is a step in the right direction in  nurturing and growing the village of mothers and a community of breastfeeding supporters.

Big Latch On Singapore 2019

This year, together with the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy (Singapore) (ABAS), we are partnering with ActiveSG in being part of the National Day Celebrations at SKH Campus for our Big Latch On. 

Some of the activities going on that day are:

  • BLO synchronised latching/pumping segment (all breastfeeding mothers are welcomed!)
  • Babywearing Zumba with our instructors from Nawal Haddad Fitness
  • Storytelling Sessions by BMSG volunteer and children’s books enthusiast Far’ain Jaafar
  • Lucky Draw (for registered participants only!) with up to 17 amazing prizes to be won contributed by our generous sponsors
  • Other fringe activities by ActiveSG which include Kampung Games for Children
  • Exclusive goodie bags for the first 250 participants containing merchandise and gifts from BMSG, Active SG, as well as our generous sponsors
  • BMSG counsellors on-site for free face-to-face counselling; to get your all your breastfeeding queries answered!

We promise fun and excitement for the whole family! We have limited numbers of goodie bags with lots of freebies and vouchers for you to bring home. Register for FREE now: http://bit.ly/blosg2019

Aug ’18 Newsletter: Big Latch On Singapore 2018

By BMSG Editorial Team

The Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore) participated in the Global Big Latch On (BLO) for 2018 this August during the annual World Breastfeeding Week, collaborating with the National University Hospital for the first time ever. This is the sixth year that we have participated in the record-breaking initiative, which was first started in New Zealand back in 2005.

Our mums and dads during the BLO. [Credits: Fok Fook Kong for BMSG]

The intent of the BLO was to create a space for mothers to seek support in breastfeeding, which is aligned to what BMSG has been doing for many years now. We have always pictured breastfeeding as a decision that involves the whole family, and like previous years, we envisioned an event fit for the whole family. This year, we also wanted to take things a step further and create more excitement in the breastfeeding community.

The BLO did not disappoint! We were honoured to be able to collaborate with the National University Hospital (NUH), who is also our partner in our newly created BMSG x NUH Mum 2 Mum Meetups collaboration since the second quarter of this year. The event saw 38 mothers coming together for the synchronised latching event, with 35 mothers successfully latching their babies although the total attendance of people at the event amounted up to almost 150 people.

This year’s BLO rules have changed slightly. In the bid to be inclusive towards all types of breastfeeding dyads, mothers who express breastmilk or feed their babies with expressed breastmilk (EBM) are now also able to participate in the BLO. Our President, Elaine Chow, who is also still nursing her two year-old, did not have her child with her but joined in the BLO fun by expressing her milk during the segment!

Mdm Rahayu Mahzam (centre) graced the BLO. She is seen here with Dr Yvonne Ng (left) from NUH and BMSG President, Elaine Chow (right).

The event was graced by our Guest-of-Honour Member of Parliament Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, who is the Advisor to the Jurong Grassroots Constituency (GRC). It is touching to know that Mdm Rahayu is still nursing her 16 month-old and it was heartening to hear of her support for breastfeeding mothers especially as a working and breastfeeding mother herself.

The Bambini SG team entertaining the children with activities centred on the classic children’s tale, A Very Hungry Caterpillar. [Credits: Fok Fook Kong for BMSG]

While the mums had their fun in the BLO synchronised latching, the organisers also had activities planned for the older children, thanks to The Bambini SG and their partner The Resource Campus. In order to include children of all ages, the Bambini SG team prepared a slate of activities, including storytelling and thoughtful crafts, which was well-received by the children! The children thoroughly enjoyed the sessions especially since they had a cosy little room all to themselves and were very much entertained by activities based on the popular story ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.

Nawal Haddad (in purple headscarf) energetically leading the babywearing zumba activity for parents. [Credits: Fok Fook Kong for BMSG]

Parents were also treated to several activities; a babywearing talk and a zumba activity thereafter.

Warabee, a couple team who specialises in babywearing consultancy, gave a talk on the safe ways to babywear. They also brought down a multitude of babywearing gears for attendees to try it out. From parents to nurses and the public, many were found trying out gears like the ring sling, soft-structured carriers (SSC) as well as wraps!

Warabee husband and wife team, Khu Jia Vui (left) and Tan Kai Hui (right), came equipped with a plethora of babywearing gears! [Credits: Fok Fook Kong for BMSG]

To round off the event, the participants were treated to an energetic round of Babywearing Zumba. Nawal, our instructor from Nawal Haddad Fitness, was a ball of energy despite babywearing a toddler and leading the zumba! There were broad smiles on all the participants’ faces and it was quite a sight to see such a large group of babywearing parents dancing energetically along to the music. One song obviously was not enough and the session stretched out longer than expected when the enthusiastic participants called for more!

Part of the BLO BMSG team, with Sister Lim from NUH (centre, in white).

BMSG has also lined up a series of new merchandise to celebrate breastfeeding and we are heartened to know that our 100% cotton reusable breastpads, lovingly crafted by Rykiel’s Handmade, as well as our newly designed t-shirts, were well-received. Do look out for them as we launch our merchandise by the end of the month on our e-shop!

BLO 2018 was definitely fun and memorable, and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Join us in 2019 for another Big Latch On!