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Mothers and health advocates in East Tennessee kicked off World Breastfeeding Week Friday.

Local moms united with those around the world for the "big latch on" at 10:30 a.m., when they all breastfed their babies at the exact same time.

East Tennessee moms gathered for the event at Ijams Nature Center. Guests also learned about how businesses can make a pledge to welcome breastfeeding.

"In Knox County, businesses are aware of the law more now than they ever have been," said Sherrie Hedberg, chair of East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition. "And the coalition gets calls from businesses occasionally asking us questions on how they can do things to support moms and make them feel comfortable breastfeeding in their establishment. That's a huge step. It really shows that the overall community support is improving in Knox County."

The Breastfeeding Coalition said breastfed babies have a reduced risk for asthma, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

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