By Sara Foss
The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Sara Foss writes about Schenectady County’s new Baby Cafe and two local hospitals that have worked hard to expand their resources for nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding provides undeniable health benefits to infants and mothers, but for many new mothers it isn’t easy.
The 36-year-old is paying her first visit to Schenectady’s new Baby Cafe, a drop-in center for nursing mothers at the Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center on State Street.
On the first and third Tuesday of the month, one of the library’s smaller, private rooms is transformed into a place where nursing mothers can ask questions about breastfeeding and receive support and encouragement.
There are pamphlets and books about breastfeeding on a table, and a scale where people can weigh their babies — something Cooper does soon after entering.
Perhaps most importantly, the cafe is staffed by an international board-certified lactation consultant, Sarah Tice.
Tice works for Schenectady County Public Health Services, where she assists mothers with the sometimes tricky process of breastfeeding. On the Tuesday morning I visit the Baby Cafe, she greets Cooper and asks whether she has any questions about breastfeeding.
As it so happens, Cooper does, even though she’s been breastfeeding Maggie since birth.
“I have a question about comfort nursing, about how to break the habit at night,” Cooper says.
Tice nods, as if she’s heard the question many times before, and says, “I kind of let the mother guide when to end that. [Maggie’s] a great size. Every time you look at her, you can say, ‘I did that.'”
The Baby Cafe has a lofty goal: Making Capital Region babies healthier.
It’s one of many new initiatives that aim to improve local birth outcomes — to reduce the number of babies who struggle because of preterm birth, low birth weight and other ailments.