Latching on for a cause

Local mothers gather at Mars Hill to raise awareness about breastfeeding

Sometimes it can take just one minute to change the world. 

Five nursing mothers gathered at Mars Hill Coffee House in downtown Hollister Friday as part of the Global Latch On, a two-day event in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, where mothers gather to breastfeed their babies as part of a global event to provide information about and promote breastfeeding. The event began at 10:30 a.m., when babies "latched on" to their mothers for one minute. 

"My main goal is to provide normalcy to breastfeeding," said Czarina Bowers, doula and mother and host of the event. "It should not be covered up, There are social stigmas attached to it that don't help. Our goal is to make it normal, bring it out into the public, to not make it shameful or be hidden. We want to celebrate it as a gift to bring to our children."

Viridiana Martinez brought her two children to the event and breastfed her three-month-old baby. 

"I didn't have a support like this with my first child," Martinez said. "I want to to be part of the movement and encourage other moms." 

Martinez said she received negative feedback from a family member with her first child but hasn't let it deter her from breastfeeding publicly. 

Another mom, Alisa Caggiano, breastfed her daughter Gracie, who is 17 months old. She has fed Gracie in public many times and didn't receive any negative comments. 

"I think breastfeeding is really important and it's important that women feel comfortable to do it in public," Caggiano said. "I never had anyone tell me not to." 

The first Latch On took place in New Zealand in 2005 and was brought to the United States in 2010 to Portland, Ore., according to a press release. The goal this year was to break the 2013 record of 14,536 children breastfeeding across 845 locations.