Women promote breastfeeding

Staff Writer

Staff Writer
Saturday was one day of a week long observation of promoting and normalizing breastfeeding around the world and women in St. Marys participated in what is called The Global Big Latch On. GBLO takes place over three days with virtual attendance and in person locations where women breastfeed their babies.
Eleven moms gathered in K.C. Geiger Park at 10 a.m. to participate and support each other. According to BigLatchOn.org, 17,713 women gathered all over the world to breastfeed as well with 16,271 children breastfeeding during the one minute count.
The Auglaize County Health Department Women, Infants & Children (WIC) division along with the Grand Lake Health Birthing Center organized the event so women locally could participate. According to Kristi Dodds, a breastfeeding

helper with WIC moms weren’t the only people in attendance to this event. Businesses like Steinike Chiropractic and family members also came to show support for breastfeeding and normalizing it.
“It was only an hour long event and the latch on happened in the middle of it,” Dodds said. “Beforehand people came and talked with other moms and talked with the people from Grand Lake Health and talked to us from WIC, talked to the women with Steinike Chiropractic that was there and everyone's family was involved.
“It was the dads all hanging out at the park with the kids, the moms all congregating with the breastfeeding babies. Really it was a big networking opportunity.”
GBLO started in 2005 in New Zealand by Women’s Health Action and within five years expanded to the United States. Since 2010 GBLO has expanded to 23 participating countries with 725 individual locations.
The event aims to promote the benefits of breastfeeding, support mothers who want to do it and to assist communities with supporting breastfeeding in public places.
“It shouldn’t be something that seems taboo,” Dodds said. “That’s what normalizing, the whole normalizing bf movement is all about and that’s just part of this.”
This is the second year that WIC and Grand Lake Health has organized the event for Auglaize County. Last year it was held at Grand Lake St. Marys with more involvement from the police and fire departments, according to Dodds. This year she said they decided to focus more on the moms and the normalizing aspect of the event.
“It was show up to breastfeed and to meet other breastfeeding moms and families in the community and I thought that was so successful this year just the way everyone interacted,” Dodds said.
One mom in attendance, Danielle Wycuff participated for the first time this year and her youngest baby. Wycuff said she heard about the event from a friend and from also getting to know Dodds and those with the birthing center. The mother of four also mentioned that although she prefers to feed her baby in more secluded areas but still something she supports and appreciated seeing the local businesses that support them as well.  
Support is something Dodds says is a very important part for breastfeeding mothers and is something she tries to promote as part of her job.  
“I think that’s one of the biggest factors in breastfeeding being successful,” Dodds said. “If the mom doesn’t have support it’s hard for her to continue, but when she’s surrounded by support she knows where to go for help if she runs into an issue.”
Another aspect of breastfeeding that Dodds looks into is any barriers women might run into. Dodds says she tries look into why someone might be hesitant to breastfeed and work toward a solution.
“If it’s something that she wants to do there’s a way to make it work for her,” Dodds said.