Contact: Thomas Hottman
Breastfeeding mothers in Klamath Falls will be part of the international Big Latch On event Saturday.
The local event will be hosted by Sky Lakes Family Birth Center at Moore Park, starting at 10 a.m.
Carolynn Conti, international board certified lactation consultant at Sky Lakes, said the event started in New Zealand in 2005 as a way to show community support for breastfeeding mothers and their families. The event also raises awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of supporting mothers, she said.
"It's so empowering for them," Conti said of breastfeeding mothers.
BREAKING THE RECORD
Globally, the goal of this year's event is to break the world record for the number of babies latched to their mothers for one minute, Conti said.
Conti is hoping 20 mothers will participate in the local events; families are invited as well, and there will be a potluck picnic following the latch on. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at Moore Park picnic area B by 10 a.m. to register, and the latch on will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Breast milk helps prevent a wide variety of health benefits for children, and contains more nutrients than formula, Conti said. Babies need their mother's protection, she said.
The U.S. Surgeon General recommends breastfeeding for the first six months, Conti said.
Excess health risks associated with not breastfeeding a baby include increased risk of ear infections, eczema, gastrointestinal infections, hospitalization for lower respiratory tract disease in the first year, asthma, childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome, according to an observational study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
"We have to accept that this is the optimal way to feed our children," Conti said.
Breastfeeding can also have health benefits for the mother as well, including a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers, and reduced risk for osteoporosis, Conti added.
LOCAL MILK BANK
During the Big Latch On, the Sky Lakes Family Birth Center will also launch a milk bank, in which mothers can donate breast milk for babies born prematurely or at a very low birth weight.
The idea to participate in the Big Latch On was suggested on the Facebook group Breastfeeding Moms of Klamath Falls, Conti said. It's a great support group for nursing mothers, she said.
The birth center is a great resource for new moms, starting with breastfeeding education during pregnancy, support during the breastfeeding process, and home visits, Conti said. She even gives out her cell phone number so new mothers can easily reach her with questions.
"It's a community," Conti said. "I feel like the support needs to be there if they need it."
NEW MOTHERS' GROUP
The birth center also started a baby cafe group for new moms, which meets at noon every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Sky Lakes Community Health Education Center. The group is a "sisterhood for moms," and offers a mother to mother connection that can often be missing for them, Conti said.
Breastfeeding classes are also hosted by the birth center every six weeks.
For more information about the local Big Latch On, the baby cafe group, or breastfeeding classes, call 541-274-6201.
More information about the global Big Latch On, click here.
Sky Lakes Family Birth Center lactation consultant Carolynn Conti offers support and education about breastfeeding to new mothers.