Baby Café Bakersfield: 3 Years and Counting!
3 years ago, we welcomed the first families into Baby Café Bakersfield. Our goal was to provide the breastfeeding help that families need in a different kind of setting than what already existed in our community. We could never have imagined the warm reception we have received, and we are awed and amazed by the depth of gratitude our families express.
By creating spaces where people can sit comfortably and relax, by offering snacks and beverages, by maintaining an atmosphere of safety and support, we have created a destination for new families. In 3 years, we've had a couple of location changes, but wherever we go, we keep the standards the same and the families just follow.
We've grown our core group of volunteers by offering the opportunity for lactation educators to gain experience and be mentored by IBCLCs. We've welcomed Rn-to-BSN students in to make short presentations to our families on public health and pediatric topics. We've had healthcare providers and lactation support providers from other settings visit, volunteer, and become part of our great big family. We've hosted a Christmas Tea Party, we facilitate a private discussion group on Facebook for our families, and we've counted nearly 3000 visits in our 3 years.
It's about the people here at Baby Café Bakersfield. It's about how people are treated. It's not our style to tell people what to do. We offer evidence-based education so families can make truly informed choices about how they parent their babies and toddlers. We teach, we counsel, we guide. We don't persuade or convince or make decisions for anyone. We offer hope and help. Hope that breastfeeding can likely be continued, regardless of the obstacle a family faces. Hope that things will get better, especially when challenges arise. Help with the practical parts of learning how to nurse your baby. Help navigating the healthcare system as a breastfeeding family. Help adjusting to your new identity as a parent.
This support is here for the families of our community, available for free, and easily accessible in central Bakersfield by private or public transportation. We look forward to meeting many more families through our unique service and are proud to provide it!