Thousands of women joined to try to break the world record for breastfeeding simultaneously (Reuters)

Thousands of women across the Philippines have attempted to break the world record for simultaneous breastfeeding.

Women from cities across the country joined the effort to break the social taboo of breastfeeding in the largely catholic country.

It is estimated that 21,000 women joined together to breast feed their babies, AFP reports. Breastfeeding Philippines, the group behind the record attempt, was trying to break its own breastfeeding record of 15,218 mothers, which it set in 2007.

Breastfeeding Philippines was trying to break its own record (Reuters)

The event was organised to try to eliminate the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in the Philippines, which passed a law in 1986 banning formula milk advertising.

The Milk Code prohibits advertising infant formulas to infants under two. Another law from 2009 stated that all private and public companies must allot time for employees who breast feed, and that they must provide lactation stations in all public institutions.

Breastfeeding Philippines supports both laws and the rights of women to breast feed in public places.

The group director said the aim was to reduce social stigma surrounding breastfeeding (Reuters)

Nona Andaya-Castillo, director of Breastfeeding Philippines, told the news agency: "When women bare their chests for sex in movies or wear skimpy clothes the public thinks it's okay, but when a mother bares her breast to feed a child, people generally think its gross.

"One of our members was once told to breastfeed her child in the toilet. This thinking and attitude has got to stop."

Speaking about the record-breaking attempt in relation to the country's breastfeeding laws, she said: "This activity is meant to send a strong message to legislators not to be swayed by these multinational milk companies to weaken our law."

The group also said it wanted the government to uphold the 1986 Milk Code (Reuters)

One of the biggest gatherings for the record-breaking attempt took place in Marikina city, east of Manila, where around 500 mothers joined to breast feed.

One mother, Jinky Valencia, said: "Maybe I'm just shy. I am not used to doing this around in public, with so many people around. Maybe I will get used to it eventually, but I don't know if my husband will approve of it."

It will take Guinness World Records around three weeks to verify the record.

Guinness World Records will take around three weeks to confirm they have broken the record (Reuters)