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Big Latch On: Local moms promote breastfeeding

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Mothers participate in The Global Big Latch On event at Muddy Waters Coffee House in Elizabeth City, Saturday morning. The Latch On was a world event held to promote breastfeeding awareness.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A group of mothers gathered in Elizabeth City Saturday morning to participate in the Global Big Latch On and celebrate the benefits of breastfeeding.

The event at Muddy Waters Coffeehouse logged a dozen babies who latched on and breastfed for one minute at 10:30 a.m. A total of 17 babies were present but five slept through the scheduled event.

Organizers of the event included Samantha Merritt and Erin Crites.

Merritt said the event is intended to promote breastfeeding awareness and support.

“Breastfeeding can be really hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Merritt said.

She said one of the things she would like to see is more insurance coverage for lactation consultants.

“I think more women would breastfeed” if they had ongoing access to help from professional lactation consultants,” Merritt said.

She said she considers herself fortunate because she is a military spouse and has access to insurance coverage for lactation consultant services.

Merritt said she appreciates the strong global support for breastfeeding by the World Health Organization and would like to see the U.S. return to a position of strong support for the WHO’s mission of global breastfeeding awareness and support.

“I think one thing is that the formula business is a huge business and there’s a lot of money to be made,” Merritt said. She said she does not oppose the use of formula by women who choose that but supports the WHO position on breastfeeding.

The United States traditionally has been a strong supporter of the WHO on breastfeeding support but has moved to a lukewarm stance under the current Trump administration.

Crites said her daughter Julietta, now 5 months old, was born with a condition called “tongue tie” that is sometimes associated with difficulty in breastfeeding. She said she was told that breastfeeding likely would be difficult and painful because of the condition.

“But we didn’t have any issues whatsoever,” Crites said.

Merritt said Saturday’s breastfeeding event may spark the formation of a local chapter of the La Leche League, a support group for breastfeeding mothers.

Brenda Elmore, a registered nurse and certified breastfeedng specialist with Sentara Health, said she finds it rewarding to support mothers with breastfeeding.

“I’m there as much as they need me,” Elmore said.

Breastfeeding rates in the area have increased in recent years “and the moms feel like they have more support,” Elmore said. “At Sentara they’re firm believers in having lactation support.”

A list of online breastfeeding resources was distributed at the event. Websites include www.llli.org, www.kellymom.org, www.biologicalnurturing.com,www.lowmilksupply.org, www,mobimotherhood.org, www.bfar.org, and www.breastfeedingwithoutbirthing.com.

Two websites that provide information about tongue tie are www.cwgenna.com and www.kiddsteeth.com.

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