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Breastfeeding 101 at local Starbucks?

August 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The next time you walk into your favorite coffee place you might see something new. You may have heard about breastfeeding and its benefits, but many new moms might not go this route because of the logistical and physical challenges it presents. One health agency thought they'd address these issues over coffee. Coffee, tea or breastmilk? Not usually on the menu at a Moreno Valley Starbucks, but on this day it's also the breast feeding cafe.

"I love it. It is a great resource for moms out here who need support in breastfeeding," said Melissa Marquez, who is a nursing mother.

Moms get their breastfeeding support and education while at the coffee shop.

"The cafe started when we were noticing on our 24 hour help line that moms were calling us almost every other day to talk to somebody who would be like their friend," said Laurie Haessley from the Riverside County Department of Public Health.

Among the issues that come up: how to deal with kids who'd rather nurse than sleep, what to do about infections and should you nurse in public?

"I usually try to find a restroom to go in," said one nursing mom.

"We want them to be able to feed their babies where ever they are without having to go to the bathroom or someplace else," said Haessley.

One of the biggest challenges facing a breastfeeding mom is going back to work. Finding the time to actually set up your breast pump and finding a place to get the job done can be challenging.

"There are actually some programs in place for employers to get help with how to set up a pumping station for their employees," said lactation expert, Christy Hendricks.

First 5 Riverside funds the program. The money comes from the Proposition 10 tobacco tax.

This year, they've committed about $924,000 to support it. Critics say there are free lactation support programs are already in place, and that in these tough economic times, it seems like a lot of money.

But advocates say they believe their program will eventually help save money.

"Supporting moms makes really good sense. It is very cost effective, it helps save in health care costs and it helps employers keep their moms at work when their babies are not sick. Supporting moms makes sense for the whole entire community. It does save taxpayer dollars," said Haessley.

First 5 Riverside also runs a free help hotline to help moms with questions 24 hours a day.

 

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