With August being National Breastfeeding Month, it is important to be aware of some of the struggles that mothers face when it comes to breastfeeding their babies. Baby Cafe is a local service provided to mothers who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding.
Leslie Bloomquist, a Nurse Practitioner, explained that Baby Cafe USA was founded in 2012, and is the umbrella company for all Baby Cafes in the United States. Baby Cafe Bakersfield was started in 2014 by two International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) in Bakersfield.
Baby Cafe mentors student lactation consultants and supervises the hours they need as interns to be eligible to take the IBCLC exam. IBCLCs function and contribute as members of the maternal-child health team. They provide care in a variety of settings while making appropriate referrals to other health professionals and community support resources.
Additionally, Baby Cafe also offers a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about all feeding issues. Parent-to-parent support is also available along with oral assessments that check the baby’s mouth, lips, and tongue. IBCLCs will evaluate the histories given and help parents come up with a plan that meets their needs.
Jazmin Mendez, a Regional Breastfeeding Liasion, explained that one of the goals of the Kern County Breastfeeding Coalition is to have representatives from all the local Kern County Hospitals, clinics, and community organizers join the monthly coalition meetings to collaborate and improve breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be improved by getting the baby back to the breast, helping with pumping, helping with going back to work and continuing to breastfeed.
“The Kern County Breastfeeding Coalition and all our partners want to bring awareness of the health benefits human breast milk provides infants and breastfeeding/chestfeeding person,” Mendez said.
Mendez explained that human breast milk can help protect against asthma, allergies, cavities, diabetes, and obesity as stated by the California Department of Public Health/WIC 2014.
Mendez stated that National Breastfeeding Month brings awareness and celebrates a different subgroup in the breastfeeding community. Although all of August is National Breastfeeding Month, August 1 to August 7 is World Breastfeeding Week, August 8 to August 14 is Indigenous Milk Medicine, August 15 to August 21 is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week, and August 25 to August 31 is Black Breastfeeding Week.
Not only does Baby Cafe show mothers techniques on how to breastfeed, but it also allows them to learn how to pump their breastmilk.
“We say Baby Cafe is where babies come to eat,” stated Bloomquist. “We are available for parents who are wanting to breastfeed at the breast/chest, express milk by pumping or hand expression, bottle feed their babies with human milk or formula, how to safely prepare formula, when and how to start solid foods, all stages of eating.”
Bloomquist said the main goal of Baby Cafe is for parents who are wanting to increase breastfeeding or learn how to have the baby latched without feeling discomfort. Additionally, Baby Cafe aims to help parents reach their goals.
“This is my third time here at Baby Cafe. I heard about Baby Cafe from San Joaquin Community Hospital,” Heather Bianchi said.
Bianchi explained that the reason why she decided to go to Baby Cafe was that she was having a hard time breastfeeding her baby. One of the obstacles that Bianchi has faced while breastfeeding was her body not being able to produce enough breast milk. She was also unsure about the proper position to breastfeed. Her baby is also having trouble transitioning from day to night sleeping.
“Babies can be helped to latch by adjusting positioning and looking at baby’s alignment at the breast, by adjusting for extra fluids that mom might have gotten during labor, by ensuring that baby has ample time when first born to be skin to skin with parents, and allowed to use their reflexes to latch,” Bloomquist said.
Bloomquist explained that babies that are rushed through this time may take longer to latch well. Babies that have oral restrictions may also have more difficulty latching. Oral restrictions are any combination of lip restrictions, buccal restrictions, or tongue restrictions. Parents will know if their newborn baby has an oral restriction by watching the baby feed because it is crucial to find out what is going on with breastfeeding and discover issues with either parent or baby.
For those interested in attending National Breastfeeding Month, it is every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Beale Memorial Library at 701 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield.
Before attending the meetings please register here: