The world revolves around the special bond between mothers and their babies at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing Baby Café. On Friday, February 14, the Baby Café will celebrate five years with a ‘Share the Love’ celebration.
“When we started in late 2008, we were the second Baby Café in the United States, second to Boston, Massachusetts ” said founder Lizabeth “Libby” Berkeley. As a strong proponent of breastfeeding, Berkeley has made it her mission to bring about awareness to expecting mothers and to moms who have already given birth.
She’s not only making a difference in the lives of the mothers, babies, and families she works with, she’s making a difference in the attitudes and perceptions people may have about breastfeeding. “People need to know that breastfeeding is the healthiest, most affordable, and environmentally sound way to nourish your child, and one of the most amazing things that comes with breastfeeding is the bond that develops between a mother and her child,” said Berkeley.
For military wife and mother, Kinesha Smart, the Baby Café helped her bond with her baby who spent three weeks in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “Because my baby was in the NICU for three weeks, she was used to the bottle and Libby has helped us a lot. It used to be that my baby would only latch on when we were here at the Baby Café, and now I can get her to latch on when we’re at home. We still have a lot of work to do but this here”, (pointing to her breastfeeding baby) “is huge for us,” said Smart. “I wish there were more places like this. There’s something about being here with other mothers and babies that I find relaxing and somehow makes it easy to breastfeed.”
The Baby Café has come a long way since Berkeley brought it to life in 2008. What began as a project of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Department of OB/GYN (TTUHSC), University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC), Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, and the Texas Department of Health’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program, has blossomed into an integral part of the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing that trains nursing and medical students, promotoras as well as students from the UTEP/UT Austin CoOp Pharmacy Program. Students at the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing also have the option of taking a hands-on Human Lactation Course at the Baby Café as part of their coursework. All of this from the second Baby Café in the United States. ‘Share the Love’ celebration will be from February 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.