By Kathy L. Collins
On Tuesday, April 9 the Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough County and the Champion for Children abc Program held the official ribbon cutting and grand opening for its Baby Cafe at the Children’s Board Family Resource Center located at 1271 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon.
Baby Cafe is a free Breastfeeding Support Group where moms and soon to be moms can learn from each other, share concerns and receive professional breastfeeding guidance and advice from a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). According to information received from the Florida Department of Health, research supports that moms who attend Cafe supported groups tend to breastfeed longer and have babies who are sick less often.
Amy Hammant (IBCLC) is the Lead Clinician for the Lactation Department of Champions for Children. Hammant oversees Lactation Services directly to homes or in the Baby Cafe. Hammant explained that there are two groups who come to the Baby Cafe. “The first group may lack a support system. The second group may be referred here by the pediatrician for assessment regarding low milk supply, the baby not gaining weight or the mother many need a diagnosis such as for a yeast infection.”
Mothers can come in as walk-in or sign up online. The Baby Cafe is open every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Alexandra Boyer, Program Director for Champion for Children’s abcProgram said, “This is the culmination of a dream that Champions has to provide free and open breast-feeding support to mothers regardless of income. We want people to know that they have access to services that they might not have known were available.”
Walter Niles, MPA, Director of the Office of Health Equity with the Florida Department of Health explained that the Baby Cafe was made possible thanks to a grant from CDC. “We are building today so that children can be healthier.” Niles added, “We support breastfeeding and strive to increase the number of women in Hillsborough County who breastfeed.”
The Baby Cafe model originated in England. There are more than 100 around the world and four of them are in Hillsborough County.
The Children’s Board Family Resource Center provides a variety of services for families at no charge. For more information, please visit www.familysupporthc.org/Brandon or call 673-4646.