August 8th, 2010 | Published in News
They came, they nursed, they made history.
Portland’s first Big Latch On event, held Friday at 31 sites across the region, drew more than 500 nursing mothers and their thirsty tots, according to coordinator Joanne Edwards.
The special day was held at the end of World Breastfeeding Week, which celebrates nursing mothers around the world. Edwards, who had coordinated a similar event in New Zealand, was enthusiastic about the response here.
“This is the first year the event has been held in Portland, so this is a really fantastic start,” Edwards said.
Although the official numbers of participants were still being tallied, the final count was less important than the community’s involvement and support, Edwards said. “Numbers are only a small part of the story,” she said. “This event is held to develop the support of local communities for the wonderful job that nursing mamas do.”
Edwards stressed the importance of public support of nursing mothers so they don’t feel confined, especially during the early weeks in a newborn’s life.
Emilia Smith and her daughter, Clementine, were among about 50 who filled a noisy room at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center. “It was really exciting to see over 50 moms and babies at Zenana, and it was wonderful to be around so many nursing mothers at the same time,” Smith said.
And how did seven-month-old Clementine react? “There were so many babies around,” Smith said with a laugh. “She was really taking it all in. I wasn’t surprised at how many people showed up because there’s a whole community of women who utilize that space and the room we were in was packed.”
“It was so fun to think that there were about 500 nursing babies nursing all at one time,” Smith said. “It’s a powerful image.”