Latch-On to Promote Breastfeeding

Events scheduled for Peekskill and Beacon

By Alison Rooney

Next weekend, nursing women and their families around the world will take part in The Big Latch-On, an annual event to promote breastfeeding. Gatherings will take place on Friday, Aug. 4, at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA) in Peekskill and on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Waddle n Swaddle in Beacon.

Sabrina Nitkowski-Keever, the director of maternal health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt, which is co-sponsoring the Peekskill event, says between 85 and 95 percent of women who give birth at the hospital attempt to breastfeed, with a success rate of about 80 percent.

“There are reasons some women can’t, ranging from medical issues to personal preferences,” she says. “In some cases the mom wants to but can’t, exclusively, so she’ll do both. Sometimes preemies require extra nutrition, so until the mom can produce enough, she’ll do both.”

Linda LeMon, a Cold Spring resident who is one of the hospital’s two lactation specialists, says she’s seen not only parents support the decision to breastfeed but other adult family members. The hospital has a class for new grandparents, she says, and “a good portion of the class deals with breastfeeding and how to support their daughters and daughters-in-law.”

Last year, the hospital helped organize a Latch-On at the Carmel firehouse but hoped to get more Peekskill moms involved and so turned to HVCCA, which has a piece of art related to breastfeeding on display. Last year in Carmel about 50 women showed up with their children to latch on together at an appointed time.

In Peekskill, there will be speakers, arts and crafts, raffles and prizes and story time for older siblings. The doors open at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 and the latch-on begins at 10:30 a.m. In Beacon, the doors open at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 5 at Waddle n Swaddle with the latch-on at 10 a.m.

Walk-ins are welcome, or you can register at HVCCA is located at 1701 Main St. in Peekskill. Call 914-734-3557. (For information on the hospital’s pre- and post-natal services, call 914-734-3257.) Waddle n Swaddle is at 484 Main St. in Beacon. Call 845-831-5952.

The total number of women and babies who latch on for at least a minute will be added online to a global count. Last year 17,852 women latched 17,992 babies at 758 locations in 28 countries.

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