Editorial: Worldwide breastfeeding event aims to educate, encourage moms to raise healthier babies

Jul. 27, 2013 @ 11:31 PM

The benefits of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding for babies cannot be denied. Studies and the opinions of health experts are nearly unanimous in showing the advantages to the infant.

The first week of August each year, to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support of the practice, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes World Breastfeeding Week. The week is observed in 120 countries and marks the signing of the World Health Organization/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals.

Sevier County will take part in a worldwide Big Latch On event on Friday, Aug. 2. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday and even Saturday, 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, which is a synchronized breastfeeding event. The local Big Latch On will take place Friday, Aug. 2, at the Sevier County Health Department, 719 Middle Creek Road. Persons are asked to arrive by 10 a.m. for refreshments before the event takes place at 10:30.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of babies, and says babies 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 WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life, and continued breastfeeding at least for two years.

Not enough moms choose to breastfeed, but they need to be encouraged to do so. The Big Latch On event is one way to educate the public to the advantages of breastfeeding. Thanks to all who organized the local event.