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Breastfeeding mothers flock to capitol grounds this Saturday

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – If you happen to pass by the state Capitol Saturday morning, you might glimpse something unusual: hundreds of breastfeeding mothers.

“The Big Latch On” is being held in front of the Bell Tower in Capitol Square tomorrow morning as part of International Breastfeeding month. Thousands of women are registered to participate at locations around the world.

VCU Medical Center is one of the sponsors. The activity coincides with the hospital’s selection as one of 90 hospitals nationwide that will participate in Best Fed Beginnings, a national program that involves hospital health care employees encouraging breastfeeding.

The event, which is part of World Breastfeeding Month, is designed to increase awareness about the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding. The Richmond Healthy Start, Bon Secours Richmond Health System and HCA Healthcare are also sponsoring “The Big Latch On.”

“Although breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, half of U.S.-born babies are given formula within the first week, and by nine months, only 31 percent of babies are breastfeeding at all,” said Valerie Coleman, coordinator of family life education and lactation services at VCU.

“The Big Latch On” starts Saturday, Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m.