As an employee of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation, data manager Choni Cooper knew that the organization had help available for moms who had questions about nursing their children. …
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As an employee of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation, data manager Choni Cooper knew that the organization had help available for moms who had questions about nursing their children. However, she didn’t look into it right away.
The mother of two had previously nursed her daughter for eight months, moving on when she felt she had no other choice.
“I didn’t have the support necessary to continue, or so I thought at the time,” she said. “But I wanted to be the mom who had an outstanding amount of milk to donate.”
After her second child was born in 2018, Cooper considered going to the Baby Café — a location for new moms created by the Mothers’ Milk Bank, a nonprofit program that runs through the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation.
“I was hesitant because at that time, my son was three months old,” Cooper said, adding that she expected other parents to have two- and three-week old babies with them.
Eventually, she said, she decided to give it a try.
“And I am so grateful I went in,” she said. “It was the safe space I needed to be in. The other moms and I could relate on so many levels.”
The Mothers’ Milk Bank Baby Café, 5394 Marshall St., provides a weekly learning and social opportunity for moms who are currently breastfeeding their babies or would like to start doing so. Parents can attend the café for free to speak with certified consultants and meet other moms.
“We have lactation specialists, we have a scale that weighs how much milk the baby is getting,” said donor relations manager Abby Case. “We really help each family meet their own personal goals.”
The Baby Café was opened a year ago by the Mothers’ Milk Bank. Through that program, mothers who meet health and safety guidelines donate their milk, which is distributed to infants in NICUs across the country. A hospital’s NICU treats newborns who need emergency medical attention.
“The moms of those babies will often go on to give back to the milk bank,” Case said. “It comes full circle, which is really cool.”
In 2018, the Milk Bank received 1,200 donations and dispensed 750,000 ounces of milk — enough to feed more than 25,000 babies for a day, Case said.
“We have hospitals calling us every day to put orders in,” she said.
The bank also provides donated milk to local families in exchange for a processing fee. In an effort to help those families further, Case said, the bank opened the Baby Café in May 2018. The café recently invited families in to celebrate its anniversary with snacks, cake and demonstrations by consultants on different baby carriers the moms could use.
“I feel very fortunate to have found the Baby Café,” said Broomfield mom Kajsa Rossetto, who has been bringing her daughter Nora to the café for the past year.
“You’re able to get out of the house and express yourself,” she said. “It’s a great way to get support.”
Families can drop in every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with anywhere from six to 13 families in the café at a given time, Case said.
“If you’re coming in for the first time, it’s a little easier to navigate because it’s a smaller group,” she said. “It just provides a space for moms to come meet other moms — and dads are welcome, too.”
Cooper encouraged families in the area to visit the café.
“The worst that can happen is that the information doesn’t apply to you,” she said. “So take that step and try it out.”
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