First Baby Café
The aim of the Baby Café was to create a mainstream service where all moms could access high quality breastfeeding support from qualified practitioners, volunteers and other mothers in a relaxed, stylish setting. The first Baby Café was established in 2000, in West Sussex, UK, by lactation consultants Catherine Pardoe and Julie Williams.
Becoming a charity
Its popularity quickly grew, as health professionals and mothers in other areas of the UK and beyond began to make enquiries about using the model in their own area. In 2005 the Baby Café initiative became the Baby Café Charitable Trust and in 2010 merged with NCT, a UK charity for parents, to help support and grow the network of Baby Café drop-ins more effectively.
Baby Café USA
In 2006, Lucia Jenkins RN, IBCLC brought the Baby Café concept to the USA, and the first USA café was opened in Melrose, MA, by Hallmark Health and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. The first WIC Baby Café was started four years later out of Hallmark Health's WIC program in Malden, Ma.
In 2008, Lucia presented the Baby Café concept at the ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) conference in Las Vegas, and the El Paso, Texas Baby Café was started in November of that year, with more opening soon after.
There are currently nearly 45 Baby Cafés in the USA, in twelve states, with more in the development process, and many of them are associated with WIC offices.
Baby Cafe USA is now a not-for-profit 501c organization with its own volunteer Board of Directors.
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