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'Baby Cafe' Supports Moms Struggling With Breastfeeding

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- For many moms, it can be the hardest part of having a baby: breastfeeding. But, some moms living outside of the metro are finding help at what's called a "baby cafe."

Every week, women meet in Buffalo to talk about what's working and get tips from professionals about what isn't. The Wright County Heritage Center plays host to a new generation, as their moms tackle an often private subject.

By the time Gavin arrived three months ago, Sarah Licht knew the studies well: how breast milk helps with bonding and can protect babies from sickness. So, when Gavin's weight dropped, Licht wanted to do whatever she could to still make it work.

"Right away, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be," Licht said.

As an international board-certified lactation consultant, Karla Hoikka will weigh each baby before and after a feeding. That way, moms know how much milk they produce.

Licht's now breastfeeding, and then pumping, up to eight times a day to ensure Gavin is getting enough.

Jenna Johnson admits to struggling to breastfeed her firstborn, but with Paige, she's relieved so far that hasn't been the case.

"I have never nursed in public before, so I thought this would be a great way to kind of try it out," Johnson said. "It's nice that it's going better this time and it's nice to have the support of everyone here, too."

Megan Ward is a lactation consultant and public health nurse.

"The goal of Baby Cafe is to support breastfeeding moms in whatever their goals are," Ward said.

Buffalo Hospital and the Minnesota Department of Health's SHIP program, which invests in preventing chronic diseases before they start, sponsor the cafe.

Recognizing there is often little support for new moms once they leave the hospital.

Baby Cafe is considered the first breast feeding support group offered in Wright County. It's been such a success that moms will drive nearly an hour to be there.

It worked for Licht. Without it, she's sure she would have stopped breastfeeding by now.

"Just knowing that you're not alone and other people are experiencing the same things that you are it kind of helps realize ... that you're not broken," Licht said.

There are five other cities hosting weekly baby cafe's right now. For more information on where to drop in, click here.

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