Events‎ > ‎

Big Latch On 2011

Thirteen women and their babies and two official witnesses gathered in
Sanford, FL to participate in the Big Latch On 2011.

On August 6, 2011, women around the world gathered together to raise awareness and support for breastfeeding.  The Big Latch On was an international event that set out to break the world record for the most women to breastfeed their babies at the same time.  Women and babies gathered in registered locations with witnesses and latched their babies at 10:30a.m. local time.  Witnesses verified that babies remained latched for one minute in order to be included in the official count.  The event was organized by Joanne Edwards, Big Latch On Coordinator and Breastfeeding Advocate, and Annie Brown, a Le Leche League leader. 

A local event was scheduled to take place in Orlando but was canceled due to venue issues.  Three days before the event, Colleen Juul and Jennifer Miller partnered with The Breastfeeding Project, a local initiative to increase breastfeeding awareness and support, to create a local participation site.  "When I heard that the Orlando venue for the Big Latch On was canceled, I contacted our support group and The Breastfeeding Project because this is something that is important to me,” said Colleen Juul, Big Latch On Sanford Site Organizer and Participant.  “I quit breastfeeding my oldest daughter at three weeks and my son at almost two months.  Now I am still breastfeeding my youngest daughter at ten months.  The difference?  My support system this time around from my midwife Michelle Gawne and her breastfeeding support group, Bosom Buddies, at Heart 2 Heart Birth Center.”

The local event took place in Sanford, Florida.  Thirteen mothers attended with their babies, along with two official witnesses, a handful of dads and several older children.  At 10:25, the women, babies and witnesses gathered in the family room while the dads cared for the older children in a different room.  Everyone got settled, quickly reviewed the rules, and counted down the time until 10:30 when each mother latched her child onto her breast.  “To be in the room where such love was being shown to these babies and toddlers is unexplainable,” said Karen Andriola, Financial Chair of The Breastfeeding Project and Big Latch On Witness.

The final numbers are still being verified, but the provisional count is 4,123 women and children in 294 locations across the world participated in the Big Latch On.  The current record, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is 15,128 mothers and babies in 295 sites in the Phillipines in 2007.  “Numbers really are only a small part of the story though,” said event coordinator Joanne Edwards.  “The event is held to develop the support of local communities for the wonderful job that nursing mamas do.” 

The numbers didn’t appear to be important to the women who attended the Sanford event either.  “I attended the Big Latch On because I believe it is important for women to make a statement about breastfeeding being one of the most natural and necessary interactions a mother and child can have.  It should not be looked at as something taboo that should be hidden away as if we are ashamed.  I hope people take notice of movements like this and support our efforts and rights to naturally feed our children.  The event was a beautiful display of strong, empowered women gathering to enlighten the world.  I am very glad to have been part of it,” said Kelly, who participated in the event in Sanford as a breastfeeding mother.       

Nichole Robins-Bowling, Marketing Chair of The Breastfeeding Project and Big Latch On participant, said, “I strongly believe that when mothers receive accurate information, resources and support from their doctors, families and communities they are more likely to have success with breastfeeding.  That is what the day was all about: education, support and community.” 

Another participant, Angie, stated, “I believe that breastfeeding is the most natural way to meet your child's nutritional needs as well as the emotional bond that lasts a lifetime. Breastfeeding has so many benefits to a child and mother. As a pregnant breastfeeding mom, I want others to know that it is safe and possible to continue to nurse throughout pregnancy. Many new mothers should receive more encouragement and feel comfortable breastfeeding their baby in public. It was nice to be a part of the Big Latch On with other moms that support each other.”

Now that the Big Latch On has been brought to the United States, The Breastfeeding Project will be organizing an annual local event.  “We really want to raise awareness about breastfeeding and give moms the support they need to be successful.  The Big Latch On is just one more way to educate people and promote a culture that supports breastfeeding,” said Shannon Carter, Publications Chair of the Breastfeeding Project and Big Latch On Participant.

For more information about the Big Latch On, visit www.biglatchon.org . 

Registering for the event

Registration at the event
Nursing babies during the Big Latch On
Shannon Carter, Nichole Robins-Bowling and Shawna Mitchell raise their hand to be included in the official count
Raising of hands indicates successful latch and can be included in the official count
Nursing babies during the Big Latch On

More mothers nursing their babies
Babies continue to nurse after the one minute time requirement is complete
Participants visit and build community

Toddlers play together after the Big Latch On