Last year St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, NY, a member of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, formed a Breastfeeding Support Group open to all breastfeeding moms and their babies. The support group was created by Amy Fotino, RN, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
On Friday, July 31, members of that support group gathered with their babies and preschool age siblings under a tent on the lawn outside nearby Mount Alverno Center. They were there to participate in The Big Latch On, an International event where groups of breastfeeding women come together at registered locations throughout the world to latch on and breastfeed their babies at a set time. The number of women participating is then counted by witnesses at each location and that number is reported to The Global Big Latch On.
The Big Latch On was created to encourage communities to make breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life. The goal of the event is to increase community awareness and support for women who breastfeed, their infants, partners and families.
Last year there were 14,000 moms and 15,000 babies counted worldwide. This year’s count for the St. Anthony Community Hospital support group was 21.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend breastfeeding. An initiative within one of the five Health Priorities for New York State, breastfeeding is also directly linked to a lower chance of obesity later in life.
Those who attended the event at Mount Alverno were treated to soft background music, served refreshments and eligible to participate in a raffle for 10 prizes donated by members of the Warwick business community.
Fotino is also the driving force behind the “Breast and Rest at Applefest,” tent, which she began in 2012. Prior to that, there was no place for a nursing mom to comfortably feed her baby at the region’s largest festival. Now, “Breast and Rest” is a feature at the annual event.
For additional information about the Breastfeeding Support Group, moms are invited to email Amy Fotino at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call the St. Anthony Community Hospital Kennedy Birthing Center, (845) 987-5124.