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Brace yourself for a lot of public breastfeeding tomorrow

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Breastfeeding mothers will huddle at daycares, malls, libraries, classrooms and hospitals around the world this Saturday, all in the name of raising awareness about the benefits of the practice – and some milky competition.

The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge goes down every year to set the record for most babies breastfeeding at one site, at one time. At precisely 11 a.m., women will be instructed to "latch on" to win the challenge. It's Guinness World Records meets the Occupy movement, with a sweepstakes thrown in.

"I think events like this are important for all mothers, but particularly young and first-time mothers who may be feeling frustrated and intimidated by nursing," one mom who participated in last year's challenge told the Dunnville Chronicle. "It is a very comfortable and supportive environment. I was able to ask questions specific to my situation, not only to professionals but also to other mothers and it was nice to hear that others were facing the same struggles that I was."

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Breastfeeding isn't just public anymore, it's in your face, from flash mobs at offending chain stores to live performance art – remember the Lactation Station?

Collective breastfeeding love-ins are now common, and mirror similar trends, including the rise of communal knitting and running in groups.

"Running seems to be turning into the thing I hated most as a kid: a team sport," The Globe and Mail's Katrina Onstad wrote this spring.

Once a solitary activity, running is now dominated by fluorescent packs and city-stalling marathons, turning the whole sport into a giant group hug. Onstad found that women were largely responsible for turning an inherently solo pursuit into a social gathering: They want to run and make friends.

Would you ever participate in a breastfeeding competition?

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