Baby Cafe helps mothers and their breastfeeding journey

CINCINNATI — Becoming a new mother can be a challenge when you don’t have support and guidance. That’s why one southwest Ohio hospital is stepping up to help.

What You Need To Know

  • UC Health’s Baby Cafe reopened after being temporarily closed during the pandemic
  • It provides pregnant and new mothers the resources they need to breastfeed their babies
  • Every Monday, mothers meet to discuss their experience and tips with breastfeeding
  • Mother Maya Whyte said she benefited from this experience because of the support from the other mothers

Breastfeeding is nothing new to the soon-to-be mother of four, Maya Whyte. She started coming to the Baby Cafe at the UC West Chester hospital back in 2020. It was after giving birth to her third child. 

“He appeared to be nursing,” she said. “He would latch. It wouldn’t be painful. He would suck, suck, swallow. But when we would weigh him, he would have not gained anything.”

She later realized her son was tongue tied, and that’s why he wasn’t latching on. Thanks to the Baby Cafe staff weighing her son, she realized he hadn’t gained any weight, and they shared with her tips on how to better breastfeed. 

“Had I not gone to a baby cafe and had him weighed before and after, I wouldn’t have known that he wasn’t eating,” she said. 

One of the major focuses of the Baby Cafe is to provide support to breastfeeding mothers. Every Monday at 10 a.m. mothers gather around and talk about challenges and successes they’ve had while breastfeeding. During a recent session Whyte, along with new mother Christina seaward explored breastfeeding tips. 

“You realize, oh, it’s not just me that’s over here feeding a baby and not knowing if he’s not getting enough, and then eventually you start to build bonds with these women because you are there every week,” she said. 

Baby Cafe just recently re-opened its UC West Chester Hospital and Primary Health Solutions location after temporarily closing during the pandemic. The purpose of the cafe is to provide pregnant and new mothers with emotional and professional support to successfully breastfeed their babies.

The program is free and funded by West Chester Hospital Maternity Services, the WIC office and Primary Health Solutions. Board Certified Lactation Consultant Heather Evans said it’s important for mothers, especially those in minority communities, to breastfeed because it correlates directly with infant mortality rates. 

“We’re seeing lower rates of breastfeeding, but we’re seeing higher rates of infant mortality in those same groups,” said Evans. “Because breastfeeding is a protective measure for moms and baby’s health. So we’re hoping to help more moms be successful with breastfeeding.” 

This spring, Whyte will welcome her fourth child. As she expects their arrival, she said she looks forward to spending more time at the Baby Cafe, soaking in as much knowledge as possible. 

“You never learn enough about breastfeeding,” she said. “There’s always more to learn. Your experience with each child is almost always going to be different, so I’ll be here.”