World Breastfeeding Week takes place from August 1 through August 7, and the Department of Health in Hillsborough County wants parents to feel empowered.
"People should know that breastmilk is powerful," said WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Charlene Laping. "As expecting mothers plan for the arrival of their little one, part of the planning should include how they are going to feed their baby. Mothers need support from family, friends, and employers to be successful at breastfeeding."
The department is encouraging all breastfeeding moms, soon-to-be moms, families, friends and employers to understand just how important breastfeeding is. Their theme for the week is Empower Parents: Enable Breastfeeding.
The Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Taskforce is hosting several Global Big Latch On events during the week. They are taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For details on those events, click here.
During the Global Latch On Events, breastfeeding moms have their babies "latched on" at a specified time, all over the world.
The department says families are also encouraged to celebrate with food, music, games, photos and more.
"This is one way to stay in touch with other mothers and families in the community, while proving how easy breastfeeding is to sustain with community support," Laping added.
Children that are breastfed typically score higher on IQ tests and are sick less often, the department of health says. They also have a lower risk of developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and SIDS.
Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer and postpartum depression, according to the department.
It's important to note that breastfeeding doesn't always come naturally, quickly or easily.
"The truth is that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It may take time and practice. Be patient and give yourself and your baby time to get comfortable with breastfeeding," the March of Dimes website says.
Breastfeeding can present challenges, especially for mothers with special circumstances like multiple babies or who are pregnant. For help with these and more challenge, visit the Women's Health website.