ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud community is coming together to help support mothers who choose to breastfeed.

The Big Latch On event kicks off Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in Cennential Park at 1725 Centennial Drive. Paula Roufs is with the Birth Community, one of the organizations hosting the local event. Roufs says the event is a part of a global initiative to normalize breastfeeding.

"There are locations all over the globe that are hosting a "latch on" event as part of world breastfeeding week, which is always the first week of August. On the specified date (August 4) at 10:30 a.m. we ask everyone to latch and then we count all of the latches."

All of the mothers breastfeeding their babies are counted and that number is sent into the Global Big Latch On organization. Then they will publish the results of how many mothers were breastfeeding their babies for the event.

Roufs says the definition of a latch has been redefined it's no longer exclusively a mother breastfeeding her baby straight from her breast.

"We can also count people who are bottle feeding breast milk, we can count moms who are hand expressing or pumping."

In the case of rain, Saturday's event will be moved to For All of Maternity inside Centennial Plaza.

One of the main goals of all "Big Latch On" events is to raise support for breastfeeding in public. Over 18,000 women in the world were breastfeeding during last year's event.

The United States is ranked as having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates among higher-income countries, with just 74.4% of babies being breastfed at least once in their lifetime. You can see the full Unicef report here.

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