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Breastfeeding guidance, support offered at Baby Cafe

Facility will be first of its kind in Colorado

Posted

Motherhood can be an isolating experience for new moms. But Mothers’ Milk Bank and the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation are seeking to change that with the opening of the state’s first Baby Café in Arvada.

Baby Cafés offer free resources for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, including support from specially trained staff, opportunities to share experiences and make friends, refreshments, comfortable seating and open-forum discussions.

Mothers’ Milk Bank Baby Café will offer a space where parents can receive free breastfeeding guidance and support from a lactation specialist.

“Lactation support can often be very expensive, and we want to help all parents meet their breastfeeding goals,” said Abby Malman Case, international board-certified lactation consultant and manager of donor relations at Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Breastfeeding experts say the ideal timeline is one year of breastfeeding, said Samantha Rhodes, certified lactation consultant and donor relations coordinator at Mothers’ Milk Bank. But each woman has her realistic goal.

“Every woman’s experience is very different, even child to child,” Rhodes said. “Some women do, or don’t, have to go back to work at six weeks. So when thinking about goals and timing, that comes into play.

“It’s making sure moms are comfortable with skin-to-skin, but also with pumping.”

The café is modeled after a series of cafés established in the United Kingdom.

Moms and dads can relax with refreshments, share experiences, get tips and techniques, and socialize with others in a child-friendly space. Everything is free including weight checks for babies.

“Women sometimes think they’re feeding, but they aren’t, so weight is important,” Rhodes explained.

Moms can do a pre-feeding and post-feeding weight check to ensure their baby is feeding properly.

“Motherhood can be a very isolating time and Baby Café helps provide a cozy space where families can come meet other families, have a cup of tea and a snack and talk about this season of parenthood,” said Malman Case. “Parenting is a bunch of highs and lows, and to have people to help you get through that is invaluable.”

An emphasis is put on building relationships, not just with fellow new parents, but also with lactation specialists.

“It’s about building that trust,” Rhodes said. “If we can build that trust and relationships with those moms, we can hopefully meet their goal.”

In April, UNICEF and the World Health Organization released a report declaring that hospitals should support breastfeeding because it saves lives.

“Many women are not supported to get a good start at breastfeeding and many women stop breastfeeding much earlier than they were planning,” said Dr. Victor M. Aguayo, chief of UNICEF’s nutrition program. “So support is of the essence.”

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