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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 00:25 GMT 01:25 UK
US breaks breastfeeding record
Baby breastfeeding
Public breastfeeding is sometimes still taboo
More than 1,000 babies and mothers have broken the world record for simultaneous breastfeeding.


It was more than a success - it was a smashing success

Ellen Sirbu
Organiser
The event, in Berkeley, California, more than doubled the previous record of 536, a feat achieved in August 2001 in New South Wales, Australia.

The mass nurse-in saw 1,135 mums and infants march from a local park to a theatre, where the feeding began.

As well as setting a new record, the event was intended to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding.

'Bit of fun'

Two independent observers - including Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean - oversaw the event, helped by volunteers from the Bay Area Lactation Associates.

"It was more than a success," said one of the organisers, Ellen Sirbu said.

"It was a smashing success because the women loved it, the band was great and everything went right."

The result will be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.

The challenge was welcomed by the Australian record holders.

"It's a bit of fun isn't it?" said Lee King, one of the directors of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

"It's really something different and something interesting but it actually is really good for the baby and it's a good way of promoting breast-feeding."

Frowned on

Studies have consistently shown the benefits of breastfeeding.

The UK medical journal The Lancet, for example, recently published a study that calculated that for every year a woman breastfeeds, her risk of breast cancer is cut by 4.3%.

Breastfeeding has also been shown to be beneficial for the infant, for example, in increasing immunity to disease.

However, although about two-thirds of new mothers now breastfeed, public nursing is still often frowned on .

Ms Sirbu, said the US still had some catching up to do.

"I was so impressed by how matter-of-factly everyone in Australia breastfeeds," she said.

"I thought, this is so nice, why don't we do this here?"

See also:

13 May 02 | Health
04 Apr 99 | Health
18 May 00 | Medical notes
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