"The Big Latch On" brings breastfeeding women together

PORTLAND, Ore. -- How do you feel about breastfeeding in public? If you were at a southeast Portland park Friday morning, you would've seen more than 60 women and their babies "latching on" at the same time.

They call it "The Big Latch On." These moms joined other women across the globe for 60 seconds, breastfeeding at the same time. We went to find out why.

Shanti Hodges organized the local version of the "the big Latch On" at Sellwood Park. Moms here are about to take the kids on a hike. But first, they join women around the world by nursing at the same moment.

"We're here to support women everywhere, being able to nurse in public, and not feel like they have to go hide in a bathroom," said Hodges.

In Portland, Hodges says breastfeeding in public really doesn't feel like a big deal. But it's not like that everywhere.

"I notice when I'm in airports and traveling around the country, i'm in other cities, people are a little, 'What is she doing?'" Hodges said.

This public feeding is to send a message.

"I'm hoping people see just a large group of women having lunch with their babies -- their babies are having lunch!... We don't want to make people uncomfortable and we don't want it to be a protest. i mean this is not about, 'Oh check us out!' We're not trying to get naked. We're just trying to nurse."

That's something Colin Kafka agrees with: "For me it's not an issue".

But he is the only guy here showing support.

"So maybe the ladies will go home and tell them 'there was a guy there!' I think guys have reservations about coming to this kind of thing," he said.

Soon, 60 women are getting their babies ready. And lunch starts. Or maybe dinner, depending what country you're in.

"It's OK to nurse and that we embrace it, and we do it all across the world," said Hodges.

Between Friday and Saturday, a dozen Oregon cities from Portland to Medford are having their own "Big Latch On" events.