National Breastfeeding Month is an observance dedicated to improving the nation’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
Although research shows that breastfeeding is one of the best investments in saving lives and improving the health, social and economic development of individuals and nations, only 40% of all babies under 6 months are exclusively breastfed (WABA). Breastfeeding support groups such as BabyCaféUSA have become a life-changing resource to new moms everywhere, and most recently New Orleans moms.
Nola BabyCafé devtoee, Ann Marie Miklavcic, shares her journey of breastfeeding and how the supportive resources of Nola BabyCafé have helped her journey.
"Baby Cafe and their lactation consultants have been an invaluable resource to me as a breastfeeding mom of a twenty-two-month-old. Like every mom, my breastfeeding journey has been challenging yet rewarding. My mother taught me about the benefits of breastfeeding, and I knew, if I was able to, that is what I wanted for my son.
I delivered at Touro and heard about Baby Cafe through the pediatrician on staff. I also had the great fortune of meeting Portia Williams, lactation consultant, in the middle of the night as she came in to help get my milk production started and begin pumping. In those few minutes I met her she not only helped me with breastfeeding care, but she also went out of her way to help me with post-partum care. Three weeks after I delivered, I decided to go to the Baby Cafe for help. I was so happy to see Portia was leading the group and I instantly felt at home. We were dealing with a mild tongue tie and I simply wanted mother-to-mother support. I was nervous about going as I thought I would walk in and there would be a group of mothers breastfeeding easily with no issues. Thankfully I was met with warmth and understanding as they listened to my concerns. Over the next few weeks I continued to go and met other mothers who came for support. It has even motivated me to become a lactation consultant in the future. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve learned something about breastfeeding from new moms as well as lactation consultants. I’ve also developed friendships I know will last a lifetime. The breastfeeding journey I have found is a journey in itself separate from motherhood. And the first few weeks of motherhood can be extremely difficult. It’s important to remember that your child is also learning how to breastfeed and so the practice of patience with yourself as well as your baby comes in to play. These small humans are new to the world and don’t always come knowing how to have the perfect latch or feed for a certain amount of time. When you go to a Baby Cafe you see that this is reality and it’s always a learning process. To hear, “You’re doing great mama” is the best medicine for a new mother. That’s why I believe it’s critical for breastfeeding mothers to get support in the early days. I believe the resources Baby Cafe provides can positively impact the success rates of breastfeeding mothers."
Nola BabyCafe recently partnered with Touro to open the Gulf-South region’s first hospital-based BabyCafe. Nola BabyCafe Touro is open at two locations: Uptown on the campus of Touro Infirmary and in the Bywater. For more information visit touro.com/babycafe