Additional support for breastfeeding mothers is coming to the White Mountains area of the state.
A Baby Café, which will provide support for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, is the first of its kind to open in Arizona. It will be based in Show Low.
The program’s official title, the Summit Healthcare Leslie Meyer Baby Café, is named after long-time First Things First Navajo/Apache Regional Council member Leslie Meyer, who passed away earlier this year. Meyer, who was a Healthy Steps specialist at Summit Healthcare, was an advocate for the program.
“She was the person who drove the project,” said DeAnn Davies, the Summit Healthcare Healthy Steps director, adding that they were able to tell Meyer that it would be named after her before she died.
A Baby Café is typically open at least once a week and mothers can drop in for lactation support and consultation free of charge. The staff receives specialized training and experience in helping breastfeeding families to be successful.
According to the Baby Café USA website, about 80% of all US women start breastfeeding, but of those moms, approximately 60% do not reach their own goals. In efforts to improve these rates, Baby Cafés offer support on all aspects of breastfeeding and its impact on daily life – from prenatal to weaning, as well as assistance with pumping and maintaining supply if moms return to work outside the home.
“Sometimes it helps just getting out to talk to someone about breastfeeding,” Davies said. “Specialists will be able to help troubleshoot and cheer them so they can do this successfully. There are so many factors involved in breastfeeding, moms need to know that it’s not their fault if they are struggling with breastfeeding.”
Bringing a program like this to rural Arizona is meaningful, Davies said. The Baby Café will be located at Summit Healthcare Medical Center in Show Low.
“We want parents to know that they have access to high-quality services in their community,” she said. “They won’t have to travel far to receive assistance.”
Davies said she expects the Baby Café to open by the end of the year.