History of Baby Café USA

 

 

Baby Café USA

In 2006, Lucia Jenkins RN, IBCLC brought the Baby Café concept to the U.S., and with the assistance of Hallmark Health and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, founded the first Baby Café in Melrose, Massachusetts. The first WIC Baby Café was started four years later in Malden, MA, through Hallmark Health. The Baby Cafés were immediately very popular with community mothers, and many stated they would not be breastfeeding without the help they had received. The mothers formed strong friendships with each other, and encouraged others to attend for breastfeeding trouble-shooting. 

The Baby Cafés are open to all women, regardles of where they give birth, and the Melrose Café attracted large numbers of mothers from the Greater Boston area and beyond. Local Hospitals and Healthcare practioners reported that they found the Café to be a reliable referral point for breastfeeding mothers.

 

In 2011, Lucia founded Baby Café USA (BCUSA) a non-profit 501c(3) organization, for the purpose of supporting and promoting the development of Baby Cafes throughout the nation. BCUSA is a member of the USBC (United States Breastfeeding Committee) and encourages community collaboration among groups working to increase breastfeeding rates in their communities, targeting areas without lactation resources. There are currently over 112 Baby Cafés in 32 states, in a wide variety of sites, including libraries, churches, health clinics,and WIC offices.

 

Individual Baby Cafés also provide mentoring oppotunities for those wishing to become Baby Café Breastfeeding Counselors (BCBC), or obtain clinical hours necessary to qualify for the IBCLC exam.

 

Baby Café Model Origin

The Baby Café model was conceived of in the UK, by lactation consultants Catherine Pardoe and Julie Williams.The design offered a site where moms could access breastfeeding support from qualified practitioners, volunteers and other mothers in a relaxed setting. The U.K. currently operates Baby Cafés in community sites under NCT, the National Childbirth Trust. Though both NCT and BCUSA share the trademarked logo, the organizations are not connected, and operate different models suited to the respective countries.

 

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