Launch Café Mama!
I am Donna Bruschi and the barriers that keep moms from breastfeeding their babies are real. And, they really bother me.
This problem keeps me awake at night.
It also drives me to do something.
I am a mother of three, including twins, who all breastfed. I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and own New Baby New Paltz, a maternity and baby store. I'm a La Leche League Leader and President of the Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County.
I've helped a few thousand moms privately over the past two decades. And, I've helped nearly 500 moms in the last 6 years achieve their breastfeeding goals by using social groups.
This money I raise in this fundraiser means a lot to me because it's community support for something that betters our community. Something that I've been doing alone.
Moms, new generations of babies, and especially I, would be so grateful if you can make a financial contribution. If you are unable to do that, please share this campaign widely or send an email asking how you can help and be part of Café Mama.
Click on a button over there to help us ----->
Or first, let me tell you that helping moms breastfeed and keeping babies breastfeeding benefits ALL of us.
In other countries, governments sponsor Breastfeeding Cafés and Mama Cafés to help mothers learn about breastfeeding and get help when they need it.
Ours does not.
What is Café Mama?
Café Mama helps mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals and be happy, confident, caring and connected.
Café Mama is a flexible event space within New Baby New Paltz. The space is open when the store is open and also for special events outside of the store hours.
It is a place to meet friends who are also overwhelmed with a baby, just your baby's age. Friends who will listen, commiserate and who won't say unhelpful stuff or try to fix things.
- A place with timely and on-going breastfeeding coaching and mothering help from someone with professional and personal experience.
- A place where mamas can share their experiences with breastfeeding, exhaustion, troubles and how hard it is. And when they are done venting, celebrate the beauty of babies and all the amazing things like snuggling, smiling, rolls of fat, new teeth and pooping.
Does Café Mama serve food?
We have free coffee and tea, water and a snack-of-the-day. We have nuts, bars and snacks for sale. You are welcome to bring food or order food in.
What does Café Mama offer?
Café Mama offers social groups, and a place for when you need to feed, change a diaper or use the bathroom.
We have 5 groups. Expect about 6-10 moms with similar age babies. Groups with younger babies focus on you and your needs. Cruiser's and mixed-age groups include mother & baby socializing and baby activities.
Moms can drop in - you don't need a reservation. It's OK if you are late and you can leave early if you need to. We offer weekly groups because moms need consistent on-going support.
This campaign is also to build community awareness.
Everyone in our area needs to know that breastfeeding help and education is available to anyone who needs it, without barriers.
Please share this campaign widely.
How does this benefit everyone, including me?
1. Breastfeeding moms and their babies are healthier. That means lower insurance, tax and welfare costs for society overall. It also means higher achievement from children who don't miss school and greater productivity for mothers who don't miss days of work because of their and their baby's illnesses.
2. Breastfeeding means there is no packaging in landfills. And no fossil fuel energy costs to manufacture, transport, store and make formula.
3. Breastfeeding creates human connections that last a lifetime, making for happier and more secure people in our community.
4. Breastfeeding reduces formula consumption which means fewer methane producing cows contributing to global warming.
Every major health organization, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Surgeon General, Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization among others, have policy statements that babies exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, then be fed complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding for a year or more.
While about 80% of babies in the USA leave the hospital breastfeeding, by six months, 87% of them are fully or partially formula-fed.
Clearly mothers want to breastfeed. So WHAT is happening?
The 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding identified these barriers to breastfeeding:
1. Lack of knowledge
2. Social norms (bottle-feeding culture)
3. Poor family and social support
5. Breastfeeding problems
6. Employment and Child Care
7. Barriers related to health services
And, I’ve identified four more.
1. High pain tolerance
2. Illness and/or injury in mother or baby
3. Values and money
4. Don’t know who to call
But research shows there are ways to help moms achieve their breastfeeding goals. These are five areas that Café Mama focuses on:
1. Cultural support - Moms who live in communities where breastfeeding is dominant keep breastfeeding.
2. Professional Help - access to professional lactation consultants who can provide coaching and specialized information about breastfeeding.
3. Mother-to-mother support - gives mothers validation and hope from peers going through similar challenges.
4. Prenatal education - about birth and breastfeeding.
5. Family and friends support - that encourage, protect and support the nursing relationship.
Seven years ago I started a weekly New Mother's Social Circle in the hopes that no mother would have to go through what I did. You see, when I was a new mom, I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding. And I felt lost and overwhelmed. That challenge became my life's work.
I've found with the 400 moms who attended the Social Circle regularly:
- Nearly all the moms exclusively breastfeed
- Nearly all moms achieve their breastfeeding goals.
- Nearly all moms have positive feelings about their breastfeeding experience.
- All moms become knowledgable about breastfeeding.
Based on this model, I have developed a place with an innovative program called Café Mama which has the capacity to serve many more families than I can currently help.
This campaign is to raise money to:
- Hire lactation consultants and other professionals
- Provide education, books and resouces
- Develop a website forum and library
- Cost share for low income families
- Advertise via postcards, facebook ads, and events
This fundraiser is to launch Café Mama as a successful model that can be replicated in other communities.
Our start-up budget is available here.
Ongoing operating costs will be paid by event fees, paid services, fundraisers and membership.
Café Mama has everything a mother needs. Friends, comfy chairs, tea, coffee, water, snacks, a super clean bathroom and changing tables.
Café Mama has a baby scale, diapers and wipes, snacks, pillows, burp cloths, a clean, confined play area, toys and books. We have a lending library of books and dvds.
The most important thing we have is professionals with personal and clinical experience in breastfeeding and mothering who listen and offer guidance appropriate for moms and their families when they need it.
Café Mama has 5 weekly drop-in groups that happen at the same times every week. We also have events, classes and workshops.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who can come?
All parents are welcome. It doesn't matter how you feed or diaper your baby or how you gave birth. You really can come in your pajamas without a shower and nobody make fun of you. In fact, they will celebrate you getting out of the house!
Are Dads welcome?
Dads are welcome at all the Cruiser's and All Ages play groups and family events. The New Mother's Social Circle is for mothers only. The Breastfeeding Circle is open to anyone who is nursing, breastfeeding, chestfeeding or breastmilk feeding.
Are people nice?
Yes, they are! "Mean girls," teasing, taunting and shunning are not allowed. Groups are facilitated and the conversation flows.
Are there any underlying beliefs or parenting styles?
We ask that you treat your baby and others with respect and kindness. People of all nationalities, races, religions are welcome. Adoptive, Foster, Surrogate and LGBTQ families are welcome.
You know your baby best. You know what works for your family and you can take what works for you and leave the rest.
Is there a charge?
The first group is free and then it's just $5 per group or by yearly membership. Payment can be made by cash, check, credit card or paypal.
Why is there a fee?
I started with a free group and moms insisted on paying for the tremendous support they received. While we realize that “free” is an option, we have expenses to run Café Mama. We looked at many options including not-for-profit, 501C-3 and agency-based like Baby Café. None of those offer the flexibility that self-funding does.
What will happen if I join?
Café Mama is a place where you will:
- Happily meet your breastfeeding goals
- Make good friends for you and your baby
- Ask questions and get appropriate answers
- Share information that you find helpful and useful
- Receive heartfelt support from people you care about
- Feel like a good mom
Testimonial from Marcia Kellogg, mother of two.
"I didn't have a mother's group when my first was a baby. There were a lot of feelings of loneliness and anxiety. I often felt like I was doing something wrong or that he was doing something wrong. I knew I didn't need to call the doctor, but not knowing anyone who could answer questions about what he was doing caused a lot of stress and anxiety.
"I was bored. Especially when he was really tiny. I could read or talk but there weren't any activities I could really DO with him. I didn't have the support to work through nursing questions. He just weaned onto a bottle at 3 weeks and that was that. There was no one saying "If you try 'this' or 'this', you can work things out and keep nursing."
"With my second, I found Donna had a really nice, safe place where I could get answers and find out what other mothers' experiences were. I was able to vent and meet mom friends. I learned so much. I learned that in a nursing relationship, there's no deadline. I learned about carseat issues: that at 23 pounds you don't have to turn the baby forward facing.
"It gave me something to look forward to, so I was more likely to get dressed and go "do something." With my first, I used to stay in my pajamas all day. Coming to the Mother's Circle benefitted my mental health. And when you are around people and feel good, your physical health also improves.
"The Mother's Social Circle is a casual, semiprivate meeting where I really got to know the other people. I felt safe enough that my baby could lay on the floor with them and I could go alone to the bathroom. Coming weekly was a really convenient way to foster friendships.
"It's a very welcoming and safe place to talk about mothering. There is always someone there who has just been through what you are going through, or is going thru the same thing. There is a camaraderie in knowing I am not alone - I don't have to face parenting and life in a constant state of confusion and anxiety. It helped most when my milk supply dropped during ovulation. I was encouraged and didn't just quit and say, "Nursing didn't work."
"The group helped me with being more patient and understanding. I could see some children walking at 10 mo and others at 15 months, and realize both are normal. Children have different skills and understanding. It's easier to not compare within you see so many differences among all the children. I could see how other people handle children who are "attached."
"Donna is very informative and inclusive, offering lots of information around what and why choices are made. She never makes someone feel wrong with their choices. She's clear and honest in what she sees. There's not a lot of sugar coating but she's kind, warm and thorough, not blunt and cold. She has a wealth of knowledge which has helped me make my own decisions and feel confident doing it the way I feel is the right way.
"As a mother of a two year old, I'm really grateful for the confidence I have now. Going every week and hearing someone else say "Maybe you should get that checked?" or "I don't think you have to worry about that." gave me confidence in trusting my inner voice. I am more assertive and confident now with people who don't parent like me, or who criticize me.
"I'm happy about the friendships I've made. I see people at the supermarket and around town and have a background when I talk with them. I am in a real community."
Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I would be so grateful if you can make a financial contribution. If you are unable to do that, please share this campagn widely or send an email asking how you can be part of Café Mama.