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Health department to hold breastfeeding event tomorrow

August 2, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Lee and Hendry County Health Departments are prepared to host up to 160 moms and their babies as part of a world record-breaking attempt to have the most simultaneously nursing mothers and children.The event takes place Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at six health department locations.

The Women Infants and Children staff, in Lee and Hendry counties, encourages all breastfeeding women to be a part of the 2012 record by showing up at 10 a.m. at any of the six locations. The event, named The Big Latch On, set a world record of 5,687 in 2011.

Betsey Lunsford, IBCLC, WIC breastfeeding coordinator said, at 10:30 a.m., the moms who have their children latched on to their breast for one minute are counted while they make new friends and become a part of a national or world record!

The event is the focus of WIC's celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, which runs every year from Aug. 1-7. The goals of the Big Latch On include increasing support for breastfeeding women, advocating for accessible breastfeeding support services, support for breastfeeding in public places, raising awareness of breastfeeding support available in the communities and making breastfeeding a normal part of day-to-day life.

Breastfeeding is proven to be healthier for both babies and mothers. Mothers who breastfeed decrease their risk of breast and ovarian cancers; babies who are breastfed have a decreased risk of infections and illnesses, decreased likelihood of obesity and decreased likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome.

The CDC reports the number of babies being breastfed from birth has increased to 77 percent nationwide, but the number being exclusively breastfed at six months is 16.3 percent.

"We want to eliminate the obstacles to exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life in Lee County," said Dr. Judith Hartner, MD, Lee County Health Department director. "The Big Latch On event is designed to encourage women to breastfeed longer, encourage employer and family support and help mothers overcome obstacles that cause them to quit breastfeeding early."

The six local locations can be found on the website They include sites in North Fort Myers, Fort Myers, San Carlos, Lehigh Acres, Clewiston and LaBelle. Interested moms should plan on being at their chosen site 30 minutes before the 10:30 a.m. start time to register and get settled.



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