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Group encourages breastfeeding through Great Latch On

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 05 2013 07:12:56 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 23 2013 08:00:43 AM CDT

The great latch on

The first few months of life are precious. And research shows breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for both mom and her baby.

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and we take a closer look at nursing -- so you can be always aware.

This feeding frenzy was actually part of an international event: this weekend The Big Latch On was held worldwide.

The goal was two-fold: break last year's record of global simultaneous nursing, and break down the taboo surrounding breastfeeding.

"It's the perfect food for every baby. The breast milk has lots of antibodies which help protect babies from illness, it decreases childhood cancers, diabetes, obesity later in life," said Patti Hari, St. Luke's lactation consultant.

Studies show newborns who are breast fed are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.

And mom benefits too.

"For moms it helps her get back to her pre-pregnant weight quicker, helps her bond with her baby," Hari said.

Last year nearly 9,000 mothers took part in The Big Latch On worldwide. Moms say coming together like this is incredibly important.

"When you become a mom, you don't know what you're doing and everything is so new," said Claire Lonergan.

Lonergan recommends new moms join a support group.

"To just have someone you can just talk to about things and just go through things together, it was really life changing for me to join a breast feeding support group," Lonergan said.

One group of parents is part of the newly formed Easton Breast Feeding Support Group.

"We get together, we talk about all the things that are happening to them after they have their babies and specifically we talk about breast feeding," said Elizabeth Chang, certified lactation counselor.

Chang formed the bi-lingual group after she noticed support lacking in the Easton area.

These ladies hope to empower other women to commit to breastfeeding and help them out along the way.

"There is a community of mothers that want to learn, want to come together, want to encourage others and they're here to grab your hand and walk you along the whole process of breast feeding," Chang said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast feeding is on the rise.

Statistics show about 76-percent of newborn babies are breast fed, but it is a personal decision each parent gets to make.