I remember calling my mom the day after I gave birth. I asked her to stop by the store on the way to the hospital and pick up some formula.
I just couldn’t do it.
In my experience, breastfeeding was worse than the actual delivery. Right after my daughter was born, my nurse looked at my nipples and said, “They’re too small. I don’t know if breastfeeding is going to work for you.”
Feeling completely demoralized, I almost gave it up right then and there. But through trial and error, I ended up sticking with it.
There’s one thing that would have helped a lot, though: The support of other moms who were going through the same thing.
In Buffalo, Minnesota, a Baby Café just opened up with this very goal in mind. With the joined effort of Wright County Public Health and Allina Hospital, this safe environment was created to allow moms to get the information and support they need during all the different stages of breastfeeding. Even moms who are not necessarily having issues with feeding are still encouraged to participate and talk through their experiences. Pregnant women are also welcome to attend so they can learn more about breastfeeding and ask any questions they might have about the process.
And best of all, moms can leave their wallets at home — this support space is free with no pre-registration requirements.
“Just come as you are,” the Baby Café website states. There are refreshments and snacks waiting for moms, as well as a scale to weigh your baby and breastfeeding pamphlets to take home. And, in addition to the interacting with other local moms in your community, trained healthcare professionals are on stand-by.
“The goal of Baby Café is to support breastfeeding moms in whatever their goals are,” shared Megan Ward, a lactation consultant and public health nurse.
Sarah Licht, a local mom and Baby Café attendee tells Babble, “Right away, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be.” Without the option of this café, Licht believes that she would have already stopped breastfeeding. Knowing that she’s not alone, and other women are finding similar aspects of the process challenging, has given her the much-needed confidence to keep going.
Looking for a Baby Café in your city? There are currently 79 Baby Cafés in over 70 cities throughout the U.S. that are hosting these weekly meet-ups. But if your city isn’t on the list, and you’re interested in applying for a license to start your own, you can do so here.
Motherhood is hard, and those months of early motherhood (coupled with breastfeeding) are nearly impossible without support. We all could benefit from having a Baby Café in our community, and having somewhere to go to voice our concerns and find the answers that are right for us and our babies. Jenna Johnson, another Baby Café attendee, reflects, “It’s nice to have the support of everyone here.”
A relaxed, informal place to go with your baby in those first few months — to meet other moms and also have access to first-class resources — is pretty much every new mom’s dream. We can only hope to see more Baby Café spaces opening up in cities across the nation.