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Breast feeding awareness comes to Riverside

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Inland Empire Chapter of LaLeche League International, Badass Breast feeders of the Inland Empire and the Inland Empire Cloth Diapering and Baby Wearing Facebook group all participated in the breast feeding awareness event The Global Big Latch On, during World Breast Feeding Week Saturday August 2nd in Riverside.

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During the two day Big Latch On event, "groups of breastfeeding women came together at registered locations around the world, at a set time they all latch on their child for one minute while being counted by witnesses. The numbers are added up to see if the previous Big Latch On records or maybe even the world record has been beat," according to the Big Latch On website.

According to Toni Kinsman, this years coordinator for the Riverside event and group admin of Inland Empire Cloth Diapering and Baby Wearing group, as well as a member of the other two participating groups, the event had 89 attendees, 33 were nursing mothers and 37 nursing children. Some mothers tandem nursed, meaning that they nursed two children at the same time for the event.

The event started at 10:30 a.m, but women were asked to show up by 10 a.m. to register and get settled in. At 10:25 a.m. women were advised to start listening for the countdown and any other important instructions. They were advised to get their baby or child latched on and to put their hand up in order to be counted.

To be counted your baby or child must be latched on from 10:30 a.m. to 10:31 a.m., for one full minute.

During last years event globally 14,536 women and their children latched on. This years goal was to try and beat that. According to the Big Latch On website this year "13,798 children were counted breastfeeding during the one-minute count and 14,173 breastfeeding women attended." This event is hosted globally, but according to Kinsman this is the first year she is aware of an event taking place in Riverside.

"As the mother of 3 children who have/ are breastfed, I wanted to be able to participate in the Big Latch On 2014 while I was on maternity leave and already had time off work. I wasn't able to find a local event in our area, the closest was Temecula. With a newborn that wasn't a fan of the car, an army of breastfeeding Mamas with me, I decided to register and host our own event here in Riverside for the Inland Empire area. Participating in the Big Latch On event meant spreading awareness about breastfeeding, normalizing society about nursing in public, educating others, empowering women who are currently nursing their children and to expand their support network," said Kinsman.

The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand back in 2005. Women's Health Action started the event as part of World Breast Feeding Week. The event has seen yearly growth each year in attendance of breastfeeding women and overall support of breastfeeding in public. In 2010, Joanne Edwards, of the Small Beginnings Group brought the event to Portland, Oregon. In 2011 Joanne worked with Annie Brown and members of La Leche League USA to grow the Big Latch On across the USA.

The Riverside event this year took place at the Martha McLean/ Anza Narrows Park located at 5759 Jurupa Avenue, Riverside, CA 92504.

For more information or to host an event next year check out the Big Latch on website.

For for any additional information on the three Inland Empire groups who participated in The Big Latch on event check out their Facebook groups at The Inland Empire LaLeche league, The IE cloth diaper and baby wearing group and the Badass Breastfeeders of the Inland Empire.

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