MONTEREY, Calif. -

Moms and their babies are invited to gather at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula Saturday for the "Big Latch On," a worldwide effort to set a new record for simultaneous breastfeeding.

At 10:30 a.m., moms at participating sites will breastfeed for a minimum of one minute to be included in the count. "The Big Latch On" has been held annually since 2005, launched in New Zealand by Women’s Health Action, and participation has grown each year. The current record was set in 2013, when 14,536 children were breastfed at 845 locations in 28 countries.

The event is held during World Breastfeeding Week, to encourage breastfeeding and raise awareness of its benefits, including:

  • Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses, including diarrhea, ear infections, and pneumonia.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.
  • Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Saturday’s event at Community Hospital is from 10-11 a.m. on the hospital’s main level, near the Comprehensive Cancer Center entrance and is organized by the hospital.