Event promotes breast milk’s benefits
Gathered in Avery Park on a warm summer Saturday morning, six women chatted as they enjoyed the sunshine, all holding their infants in their arms.
Then came the words: “Three, two, one, go!” Each woman raised her hand as her baby latched onto her breast, and all six began breast-feeding simultaneously.
The event, dubbed the Big Latch On, was a local attempt at breaking the world record for the most women breast-feeding at the same time. The Corvallis event was one of 17 around the state and one of hundreds across the country where women gathered to breast-feed for one minute — from 10:30 to 10:31 a.m. in each time zone.
The current record was set in October 2010, when 9,826 nursing mothers were recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries.
“Even though we’re a small group, we’re part of a big effort,” said Sam Rounsavell, Lebanon La Leche League leader.
Rounsavell and the league organized the local event, which is part of World Breast-feeding Week (Aug. 1 through Aug. 7). The celebration promotes the benefits of breast-feeding, such as contributing to the normal growth and development of a baby and decreasing the risk of infections, diseases and adult obesity.
“It’s all about support for moms,” Rounsavell said. “It’s also about making (breast-feeding) more acceptable by having it be a common thing.”
The group supports women throughout their breast-feeding experience, providing a resource for questions through each stage.
Melody Rudenko, 30, of Corvallis came to the event with her four-week-old son, William James. She plans to become a member of the local La Leche League group because she believes nursing is a vital part of child development.
“Breast-feeding has become a choice instead of the norm, even though every other animal in the world does it,” Rudenko said. She added that Corvallis is an accepting place in terms of breast-feeding in public, but that acceptance stops when the baby starts getting older.
“I’ve heard that when they get to be a toddler, people seem to frown on it in public,” Rudenko said. She noted that some organizations advocate nursing for a minimum of two years.
Marilyn Drake, 35, of Lebanon has four kids and has breast-fed each one. This practice is what has made her children so smart, she said.
“They say the longer you do it, the higher the IQ,” she said. “I breast-fed my oldest until she was 2½ and she was reading ‘Harry Potter’ in kindergarten.”
Beyond that, she said, breast-feeding is important because it is the ideal way to feed and bond with your baby.
“It’s the perfect food at the perfect temperature, and you never forget it,” she said. “It also keeps mom and baby close and in tune with each other.”
Emily Gillespie can be reached at 541-758-9548 or email@example.com.