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By Audrey Stasko, Public Information Officer

July 15, 2019

The Florida Department of Health in Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties are teaming up with the Florida West Coast Breastfeeding Task Force (FLWCBTF) to recognize August as Breastfeeding Support Month, a time to celebrate, promote and support the importance of breastfeeding as a foundation of lifelong health for babies and mothers.

To mark the celebration, the health departments are encouraging mothers, fathers and friends from all over the Tampa Bay area to come together to breastfeed and support each other at the Florida West Coast Breastfeeding Task Force’s 3rd Annual Big Latch On event.

The event starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County, 1611 Denton Ave. in Hudson. Moms participating in the Latch On must arrive by 10 a.m. Friends, family and community members can also join the celebration with food, raffle prizes, crafts and more.

“Peer support is not a new concept,” says Maret Wachira, DOH-Citrus International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and FLWCBTF Advocacy Chair, “but it is a powerful one.” Wachira says that one of the top reasons why a mother stops breastfeeding is due to a lack of support.

Since 2005, Global Big Latch On events have created lasting support networks for communities around the world. This year’s combined event aims to be no different.

“This event is a true example of community and what it means to come together to support something so important as the health of our mothers and babies,” says Jennie Rae Hill-Lanziero, DOH-Hernando IBCLC and President of the FLWCBTF. “Each year the number of guests increases as mothers empower themselves with information on the benefits of breastfeeding,” says Lanziero.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of asthma, diabetes, obesity, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and more. Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, babies should be introduced to solid foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of one or older.

For information about the Florida West Coast Breastfeeding Task Force, go to

For more information about DOH-Citrus, go to or follow us on Twitter at @FLHealthCitrus.