To raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes every year World Breastfeeding Week the week of Aug. 1 to 7.
It's celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals.
To mark this occasion on Friday, Aug.3, and Saturday, Aug. 4, thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations.
The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2005 and has now taken off globally. It was introduced to Portland, OR, in 2010 by Joanne Edwards and in 2011, 5,687 women participated in the global Big Latch On. This year we are aiming to once again break this record!
The Big Latch On is informed by the principles of community development, providing the opportunity for breastfeeding women to get together in their local communities, host their own events, and identify opportunities for on-going support.
Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies/children, and babies/children who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (both mom and baby.) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby's life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.