New mothers and mothers-to-be have a chance to visit with other women and receive expert breastfeeding support every week through Baby Café. Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls and Lake City, along with the Goodhue Wabasha Pierce County Breastfeeding Coalition, launched Baby Café in 2015 in Lake City and in 2016 in Cannon Falls.
Baby Café is a national network of breastfeeding drop-ins, combining breastfeeding information with a relaxed, informal environment where mothers can visit and learn about breastfeeding from skilled practitioners and each other. The program is open to anyone in the community interested in any aspect of breastfeeding – prenatal women, mothers, partners and supporters – with the intention that all mothers will be able to access the information and support they need to breastfeed. Each week, interested women and breastfeeding experts gather at a local library or church building.
“We are thrilled to offer the Baby Café in our communities,” said Jenna Reinhart, a registered nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Mayo Clinic Health System and Baby Café facilitator. “Its success has proven to us that there is definite need for lactation support and resources in our communities.”
The resources and community support offered through Baby Café help enable new mothers to breastfeed longer. A mounting body of evidence suggests breastfeeding may help prevent childhood obesity while providing many other benefits to both mother and baby. Mayo Clinic Health System identified obesity as one of the assessed health care needs through its Community Health Needs Assessment.
In 2016, Baby Café logged nearly 500 encounters, and Mayo Clinic Health System staff contributed close to 200 hours. Both Cannon Falls and Lake City have populations of fewer than 5,000 people.
Mayo Clinic Health System is a member of the Goodhue Wabasha Pierce County Breastfeeding Coalition. Founded in 2013, it is a coalition of individuals, groups and organizations from the three named counties working collaboratively to promote and support breastfeeding within their communities for the health and wellness of children and families.