LMHS hosts Big Latch On event at two sites
More than a dozen local mothers took part in an attempt to break a world record on Friday.
Lee Memorial Health System hosted its annual Big Latch On event at 10:30 a.m. at Cape Coral Hospital and HealthPark Medical Center. A celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, the global effort involves groups of breastfeeding women coming together to latch on their children at a set time.
The aim of the event is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding women across the world, while trying to beat previous years’ records. The first Big Latch On took place in New Zealand in 2005.
On Friday morning, 11 mothers took part at the Cape hospital, with another three participating at HealthPark – 14 in total. Last year, a total of 43 mothers took part – 38 of them in the Cape.
“Breastfeeding is very, very very important to us,” Nancy Travis, the director of Women’s and Children’s services for Lee Memorial Health System and a registered nurse, said on Friday.
She explained that the Cape hospital is working toward becoming more “baby friendly.”
“That means we’re really supportive of breastfeeding,” Travis said.
This is the fourth year that the Big Latch On has been hosted in Lee County, but it is the third year that the Cape hospital has offered a location for participants. The heath department held it the first year.
“It’s always fun to see them come back,” she said of the mothers and their little ones.
“We’re on a journey for wellness, and wellness states with babies,” Travis said.
Cape resident Amanda Nelson took part on Friday for the second year in a row. Her daughter, Miah, was only 2 months old when she participated in the 2014 Big Latch On. Miah is now 13 months.
“It’s a great way to show support and just have the mommy time with other moms,” she said.
Nelson explained that she had had trouble breastfeeding Miah.
“The other moms helped me go as long as I am now,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of something with other moms who were breastfeeding.”
Nelson anticipates weening her daughter off of breastfeeding at about 18 months.
“Cause she’s more and more eating normal food now,” she said.
Nelson, however, praised the benefits of the method.
“Breastfeeding is the best way to go,” Nelson said. “You will have that bond with your child.”
Kelsi Feliciano, of Lehigh Acres, was unsuccessful in breastfeeding her first two children. When she was expecting her third, she sought out help from the weekly support group at the Cape hospital.
“I wanted that bond and that connection that so many other mothers had,” she said.
Feliciano also knew breastfeeding was the healthiest option for her child.
“I fell in love with the hospital and made a lot of friends,” she said.
On Friday, Feliciano took part in the event for the first time with her 10-month-old son, Kael.
“We’re like a family,” she said. “When I see another breastfeeding mom, I feel connected to them.”
Feliciano called herself an advocate for public breastfeeding.
“Events like this are really helping to normalize it,” she said of the Big Latch On.
According to Travis, HealthPark also offers a breastfeeding support group.
“But the Cape has always been the most active,” she said.
For mothers-to-be, Travis offered the following:
“Always seek out help,” she said. “There’s lots of help for them in the community.”
Mothers should also take a breastfeeding class while pregnant.
“Cause it’s not that easy,” Travis said.
Surrounding one’s self with other breastfeeding mothers can offer support and comfort.
For information, visit: www.leememorial.org or biglatchon.org.