The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) opened its doors to the new Baby Café today. The site is a drop-in center for everything breastfeeding-related - from professional advice on infant feeding, to support groups to one-on-one counseling – all in the comfort of a non-clinical, café-style environment designed to support breastfeeding.
Baby Café is one of several new programs Metro Health recently launched through the Texas Medicaid 1115 Waiver program, which focuses on investing in prevention of health issues. As part of this waiver program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year approved approximately 43 million dollars in new funding for six projects at Metro Health, including Baby Café.
The goal of Baby Café is to increase breastfeeding rates and thus reduce childhood obesity rates. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the longer a woman breastfeeds an infant, the lower the odds are of the child being overweight. In the United States, according to the CDC’s 2012 “Breastfeeding Report Card”, 81% of women who deliver attempt to breastfeed; but exclusively breastfeeding at the end of 6 months decrease to only 25%. It is documented in the CDC’s report that support is essential to the success and satisfaction a mother experiences while breastfeeding. Those who receive support have longer duration rates and thus have infants whose risk for obesity is decreased. Open to women from all sectors of the community, Baby Café is a place where moms can receive breastfeeding help and support from lactation consultants, dietitians, and peer counselors. The Baby Café’s staff will provide resources and education, as well as support for women during their prenatal visits, transition after delivery and thereafter to help to keep mother’s breastfeeding instead of formula feeding. Metro Health will also set up satellite Baby Café sites at five WIC clinics throughout the city.
Women are welcome to receive ongoing support services with as many visits to Baby Café as they wish and are encouraged to participate regularly over an extended period to support breastfeeding duration. Specific activities occurring within the Baby Café visit will include:
1) An assessment of the mother’s needs
2) Peer support on: managing daily life, meeting the baby’s changing needs, breastfeeding outside the home, and night time needs and options
3) Access to onsite lactation consultant to assist with mothers who are having difficulty breastfeeding
4) Group discussion sessions with other breastfeeding mothers and access to resources (handouts, books, pamphlets, videos) at the Baby Café.