Women gather for Sunderland ‘breast is best’ event

Mums and babies at the Big Latch Event, held to promote breastfeeding at Penshaw Hill, Sunderland.
Mums and babies at the Big Latch Event, held to promote breastfeeding at Penshaw Hill, Sunderland.
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SUNDERLAND mums joined others across the globe to promote the idea that “breast is best” at an event in the shadow of Penshaw Monument.

About 50 members of the Bosom Buddies parent support groups, established in children’s centres across the city, gathered at the landmark to take part in the World Big Latch On.

Last year a record of 8,862 mums took part, feeding their babies at exactly 10.30am in their respective times zones across the globe.

This year that record was beaten with a number of 14,536.

The international campaign, which aims to promote the proven health, nutritional and psychological benefits of breastfeeding, was launched in 2005 by Women’s Health Action in New Zealand to demonstrate global support for breastfeeding in public. Wearside has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the country, with just over a quarter of new mums feeding their child using their breasts at six weeks of age.

Portfolio holder for public health at Sunderland City Council, Councillor John Kelly said: “We hope this event has helped to raise awareness of the many benefits breastfeeding can bring to both mother and baby.

“It’s proven not only to reduce the risk of illnesses including many cancers, but also to increase the bonding process.

“Our city has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country with 27 per cent at six weeks last year.

“We’re working hard with our health partners and through the Children’s Centres to encourage and support more mothers to begin breastfeeding, and we hope these figures will increase over time.”

The Big Latch On saw women gather at locations around the world at a set time and feed their child for a minute, with the number in the group counted by a witness to verify it had beaten last year’s total.

The event’s aim is to identify and increase chances to provide ongoing support and pass on knowledge to mums, show how communities can back breastfeeding in public place, how it can be part of normal day-to-day life, encourage partners and others to be supportive and give people the resources they need to help women.