The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso Baby Café is a drop-in center for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and supporters. The center combines the expertise of other mothers and skilled practitioners in a professional, non-clinical, café-style environment. Moms are able to chat with peers in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. No appointment is necessary and partners, supporters and health professionals are welcome.
The TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café concept began in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2000 as a response to the national health care system identifying key issues which constitute barriers to breastfeeding success. Lack of support and help for ongoing breastfeeding was identified as a key deficit in its national system. The UK model was based on current research and evidence-based practices applied directly to client care.
The model came to the United States in 2007 when the first U.S. Baby Café opened in Melrose, Massachusetts. A year later, the TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café was the second to open nationwide. There are currently 46 Baby Cafés in the U.S., and many more worldwide.
The TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café has hosted over 3,000 new mothers and has had over 12,000 visitors (repeat visitors, family members, health care professionals) in the past seven years.
“One of the big successes of the TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café is that many of the mothers who were original visitors went on to become certified as volunteers at TTUHSC El Paso,” said Lizabeth Berkeley, MPH, lactation consultant and faculty instructor for the TTUHSC El Paso Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON). “Many of these mothers have two or even three children now and eight have become breastfeeding peer counselors.”
The TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café has also served third-year medical students and nursing students taking the class elective – Human Lactation. “The GGHSON is one of very few schools of nursing to offer such an elective in the United States,” said Berkeley. “This unique program enhances their understanding of the importance of breastfeeding.”
For more information on the TTUHSC El Paso Baby Café, call 915-MILK (6455) or visit babycafeusa.org.
- In 2010, Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., marked the 10th anniversary of the release of “HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding”. He noted the critical importance of collaboration with business, medicine, academia and advocacy groups in improving the nutrition and health status of our nation’s babies through breast milk feeding.
- In 2011, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., released a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding”. She was adamant that the immunologic, nutritional, economic, and psychological health advantages of breast milk feeding are an urgent national priority.
- Many of the preeminent professional health care organizations, including the World Health Organization and UNICEF, have released statements that improving breastfeeding in the US is one of the most important public health goals our nation can achieve.