In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1-7), a synchronized breastfeeding event, pitched as "The Big Latch On," will commence around the world to promote the health benefits for nursing.
Indy Breastfeeding Moms, a chapter of the nonprofit Breastfeeding USA, will host a local Latch On to increase access to local support networks, provide educational materials and bolster cultural acceptance of breastfeeding.
The event is set to start at 10:30 a.m. at Commonwealth Apartments Gymnasium, 23 N. Rural St.
The Big Latch On was born in 2005 in New Zealand. By 2011, 5,687 women participated worldwide. Organizers hope to top that number during this year's event.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2011 Breastfeeding Report Card, 11.4 percent of Indiana mothers reported exclusive nursing for the first six months of their babies' lives, compared to the national average of 14.8 percent. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for a baby's first six months of life.
Seventy percent of Indiana mothers reported breastfeeding at least once, trailing the national average of 75 percent.
The Indiana State Department of Health reports that breastfed babies enjoy greater protections from infections and illnesses, including asthma, diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and sudden infant death syndrome. Officials also note children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese and mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancers.