More than 20 women nursed their babies simultaneously at Jones Beach on Friday morning to be counted as part of the Global Big Latch On 2018, a worldwide event meant to help breast-feeding women experience peer support and make breast-feeding more a part of everyday life.
“I think a lot of people really try to shame moms in public. But you’ve got to feed your kids,” says Brandi Fanning, 35, of East Islip, who participated in the latch on at Field 6 with her daughter, Juniper, 7 months.
The women followed the official latch on at 10:30 a.m. with a spirited flash mob of more than a dozen moms who danced to “Ice Ice Baby” while wearing their babies or toddlers.
Jones Beach was just one of the sites of the Big Latch On Friday on Long Island. The Suffolk County Executive’s Office of Women’s Services and the Suffolk County Breastfeeding Coalition also sponsored more than 10 events across the county. During one of the gatherings, the county announced plans to open a lactation station at Suffolk’s Family Court. Events take place on Saturday and Sunday as well – another event is planned for Tanner Park in Copiague on Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in preparation for a 10:30 a.m. latch on.
The Global Big Latch On, which is taking place during World Breastfeeding Week, began in 2005 in New Zealand, debuted in the United States in 2010 and this year will take place in 23 countries, according to the organizer’s website.
“It’s nice to be around a group of like-minded individuals doing the same thing that’s often looked at like it doesn’t really belong,” says Cornelia Belgrave, 36, of Baldwin, who works in IT support for hospice and came to Jones Beach with her sons Jackson, 7 months, and Joey, 2.
Mommy Moves, a Long Island mom-and-baby fitness program, co-sponsored the event with the Long Island Lactation Consultant Association, a nonprofit for breast-feeding professionals, and Lakeshore Lactation, a Massapequa-Park based private lactation consultant practice.
For more information or to register for a location, visit biglatchon.org.