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.
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.
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 BLOThis 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