RANSON, W.VA. – The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7 every year to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support.  

World Breastfeeding Week is 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. 5 and Sat., August 6 at 10:30 a.m. thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Global Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations.  

WVU Medicine Jefferson Medical Center will host its Sixth Annual Big Latch On event at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 in the hospital’s first floor conference room.  

The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2005. It was introduced to Portland, Oregon, in 2010 by Small Beginnings Group, LLC, and has since taken off globally. The Global Big Latch On provides the opportunity for breastfeeding women to get together in their local communities, host their own events, and identify opportunities for ongoing support.

This year’s goal is to break the current Global Big Latch On records of 14,889 children breastfeeding during the count time period, 15,336 breastfeeding women attending, and 36,502 in total attendance. The long-term vision is that one day a Global Big Latch On event will be held within walking distance of every family in the world.

Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies/children. Those 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 two years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child.  For more information, visit www.biglatchon.org.  

For more information: Teresa E. McCabe, University Healthcare Vice President of Marketing and Development, 304-264-1223