Janet Simone Parks of Middletown doesn’t think a mother breastfeeding her child in public is a form of activism, but a roomful of nursing women in a cafe — during the La Leche League’s annual Big Latch On — may be just that.
“No one is going to ask 20 women to cover up, for example,” says Parks, an accredited LLL leader since April. “But it’s not completely absent from this event.”
On Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in locations throughout the country — and locally at Farmington Marriott at 15 Farm Springs Road — witnesses will record the number of mothers who breastfeed their children for one full minute.
It’s an attempt to break the record set in October 2010, when 9,826 nursing mothers were recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries.
The event will conclude World Breastfeeding Week, which is observed Aug. 1-7 in more than 120 countries.
Parks, who is breastfeeding her daughter 2-year-old daughter Orion, is a trained ballet dancer and teacher at the New Haven Ballet. While pregnant, Parks and her husband took birth classes together and she was encouraged to look into becoming a LLL leader. “It was a big calling for me,” she says.
Both she and her husband Brian are certified to teach the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth (also known as husband-coached childbirth).
Parks has spread the word about Saturday’s Big Latch On to Middlesex Hospital’s breastfeeding support group, LLL of Rocky Hill and the Community Health Center’s Family Wellness Center. Still, she can’t guess how many women will turn up at Javapalooza.
“It could be 10 of us or we could be swarming the place.”
And as for public reaction to the Big Latch On?
“I would not object to it being classified as activism in some way. The idea is to normalize breastfeeding. It’s a feminist issue — a hot topic,” Parks says.
As for Orion, Parks says when it comes time to wean, it’s a decision they’ll make together.
“Whatever is comfortable for both of us,” Parks says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least a year or longer as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to age 2 or beyond.
While the event in Farmington starts at 10:30 a.m., participants should arrive early to register and get settled.