Every Monday beginning March 9, Baby Cafe will be offered at Primary Health Solutions Journey Wellness Center, 210 S. Second St., Second Floor, Hamilton, OH 45011.
The group’s purpose is to provide pregnant and new mothers the emotional and professional support they need to successfully breastfeed their infants. Mothers and babies meet in a private spot to share their concerns, talk openly with each other and receive professional advice from experts.
Breastfeeding has been linked to improved health outcomes for babies and moms and to a reduction in infant mortality. Butler County has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in Ohio. This new Baby Café offering will help fulfill an identified need in the region for further expansion of breastfeeding support to a high-risk population.
More than 400 mothers and babies have participated in the West Chester Hospital Baby Café since the program was launched three years ago, and the hospital is pleased to offer this program to more mothers that may need this type of support.
The program is free and confidential. Healthy snacks are provided, and mothers and babies may come as often or infrequently as they like.
In 2016, West Chester Hospital became the first hospital in Ohio to partner with the nonprofit Baby Café USA to provide this free support and education to pregnant and nursing mothers. The program is facilitated by Heather Evans, BSN, RN, IBCLC, a board-certified lactation consultant.
“Many women have questions when they choose to breastfeed. We hope to help mothers overcome the normal challenges of breastfeeding so that they can meet their own breastfeeding goals. Research shows us that mothers and infants who are able to breastfeed successfully are healthier in many ways,” said Evans.
National studies show high breastfeeding initiation rates among American mothers, but those rates plummet when infants reach six and 12 months old — suggesting that new mothers need more support to help continue breastfeeding. Baby Café provides free help from experts and support from peers in a welcoming environment.
“I am forever grateful for the community of moms and the most genuine and caring lactation specialists and volunteers,” said Samantha Bone, a Baby Café participant. “Baby Café is everything I️ needed as a new mom navigating the challenges and joys of breastfeeding.”
Another mom, Kelly Fortenboher, explained that “Baby Cafe is the perfect segue into breastfeeding and motherhood! Baby Cafe taught me the benefits of breastfeeding to one year and beyond with my daughter, and has provided support and encouragement while exclusively pumping for my son.”
Baby Café USA is a nonprofit organization that coordinates a network of licensed drop-in Baby Cafés across the country. All locations follow standards set by the organization, collect statistical data, and help reduce health disparities nationwide.