Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Features

‘Big Latch On’ celebrates breastfeeding

Johnny Bugeja

Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association held their yearly Big Latch On last Saturday in Casemates Square.

The international event celebrates World Breastfeeding Week, and mothers in Gibraltar once again took part.

The global event sees thousands normalise breastfeeding in public and celebrate another year of breast feeding their babies.

“We are very proud of our achievements normalising breastfeeding and providing support to breastfeeding families,” said founder and chair of the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association Tamsin Suarez.

“The event is always popular amongst the local breastfeeding community and it is lovely to see new babies joining us, those who have attended in previous years and return to support and those who return breastfeeding a second or third child. They are always very proud to be able to attend and mark their feeding goals.”

World Breastfeeding Week is not just for mothers who met their breastfeeding goals.

World breastfeeding Week aims to be celebrated by every mother who ever wanted to breastfeed however long she did be it a day, a week or a month.

One of the main goals of the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association is to support those who wish to breastfeed to achieve their goals.

“In Gibraltar, as our peers in UK, breastfeeding rates are very low,” the Gibraltar Breastfeeding Association said in a statement.

“[UK statistics show] 70% of women start out wishing to breastfeed and this drops to 40% after day 10. That means 30% of women who wanted to breastfeed have already been let down. Despite international bodies recognising that the benefits of breastfeeding last as long as the feeding occurs and the World Health Organisation recommend breastfeeding for at least two years and beyond if mutually desired by both mum and baby, only 4% of mothers are still breastfeeding at six months.”

The Association added that women can be shamed for breastfeeding and this can undermine the confidence of mothers.

“Please think before you comment as it has the potential to affect her mental health in the long term and undermines the continued breastfeeding relationship,” the Association said in a statement.
“She may nod and smile and then she may go home and cry for hours or even stop breastfeeding altogether.”

“Let us do what we do best as a community and support and encourage the diversity in breastfeeding relationships, celebrate motherhood and parenting to the best of our abilities and demand the support that breastfeeding families deserve.”

The Association has asked for people to support the initiative throughout the year, and not to discriminate against women who breastfeed.

The Association also provides information leaflets for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, leaflets for fathers and leaflets for grandparents in support. The Association can be contacted via their support line on 54014517 and on their Facebook group and page.