The Vermont Department of Health is promoting several events for World Breastfeeding Week, including the Big Latch On, a gathering Friday and Saturday during which "nursing mothers and their infants will gather to join breastfeeders worldwide ... in support of breastfeeding," the health department said in a statement last Thursday.
Six Vermont locations, among nearly 500 around the country, will host the breastfeeding bonanza: Sand Hill Park in Essex Junction Friday morning; and Saturday morning in Willow Park in Bennington, Middlebury Recreation Field in Middlebury, Taylor Park in St. Albans, Lamoille Family Center in Morrisville and Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro (times vary by location).
The practice is not a hard sell in Vermont. The state has one of the highest breastfeeding rates in the country — 84.5 percent in 2016. It's also home to Mamava, which makes lactation pods for public places.
"In Vermont, it's very much accepted," said Tricia Cassi, the breastfeeding coordinator at the Vermont Department of Health.
The weekend events are meant to keep that momentum flowing, she said.
"It's a beautiful day where the mothers and babies are out in the parks, hanging out together," Cassi said. "You can't ask for anything better in Vermont, right?"
Some 18,000 women in 28 different countries participated in last year's event, according to the Global Big Latch On website. The idea, according to the organization, is to normalize and encourage breastfeeding.
Just last week, St. Albans Mayor Liz Gamache proclaimed the city "breastfeeding-friendly." Around the state, nearly 400 workplaces have the same designation, according to Cassi.
They're really milkin' it.