Rotorua mothers have come together with their babies for the annual 'Big Latch On' to celebrate and raise awareness of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding mothers across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes region were encouraged to join in with thousands of other women around the world as they simultaneously breastfed their babies today.

The 'Big Latch On' is a global event, organised by Women's Health Action, where groups of breastfeeding mothers and their families come together to celebrate breastfeeding and its health benefits.

The event is part of World Breastfeeding Week which runs until Sunday.

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LATCHING ON: Finnian Needham, 10 months and his mother Jenny Needham joined many other mothers and babies at Rotorua's Big Latch On event. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
LATCHING ON: Finnian Needham, 10 months and his mother Jenny Needham joined many other mothers and babies at Rotorua's Big Latch On event. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Rotorua's 'Big Latch On' was held at the Arts Village and saw 27 mothers, along with their babies, attend.

The mothers and babies 'latched on' for one minute at 10.30am.

There was also spot prizes and a morning tea was provided.

Local host and community lactation consultant Amy Wray said it was an important event which supported communities to identify and grow opportunities, in order to provide ongoing breastfeeding support and promotion.

LATCHING ON: Finnian Needham, 10 months and his mother Jenny Needham joined many other mothers and babies at Rotorua's Big Latch On event. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
LATCHING ON: Finnian Needham, 10 months and his mother Jenny Needham joined many other mothers and babies at Rotorua's Big Latch On event. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

"I think it's about coming together and celebrating all their [the mothers'] hard work, and to create more awareness and reduce some of the barriers to breastfeeding continuation."

Jenny Needham, who had her 10-month-old son Finnian and daughter Aoife, 2, with her, said this was the second 'Big Latch On' she had attended.

She said she thought the event was good because mothers received support from other mothers and could "have a get together and catch up".

"I think it's important to acknowledge the mums that can't breastfeed and what an amazing job they do as well."

Logan Moka said this was the fourth 'Big Latch On' event she had been to.

"I think it gives people more confidence to come out and meet more people and like-minded mums."

She said she thought it also gave people more confidence to breastfeed in public.

Mother Amie Watson said the event was "amazing" and the first one she had been to.

"I used to work in Rotorua as a health professional and wanted to see all the women that are passionate about breastfeeding."

She said it promoted a major health issue for women, which could sometimes be sidelined and ignored.

Women who were unable to make it to a venue could take part virtually via #BrelfieNZ, flooding Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with breastfeeding selfies.