CINCINNATI – Becoming a new mother can be a challenge when you don’t have support or guidance. That’s why a southwest Ohio hospital is stepping up to help.
Breastfeeding is nothing new for future mother of four, Maya Whyte. She started coming to Baby Cafe at UC West Chester Hospital in 2020. This was after giving birth to her third child.
“He seemed to be breastfeeding,” she said. “He would hang on. It wouldn’t be painful. He would suck, suck, swallow. But when we weighed him, he wouldn’t have gained anything.
She later realized that her son was mute, and that’s why he wasn’t hanging on. Thanks to the staff at the Baby Cafe who weighed her son, she realized that he hadn’t gained weight, and they shared tips with her on how to breastfeed better.
“If I hadn’t gone to a baby cafe and weighed him before and after, I wouldn’t have known he wasn’t eating,” she said.
One of the main objectives of the Baby Cafe is to provide support to breastfeeding mothers. Every Monday at 10 a.m. mothers get together and talk about the challenges and successes they have had while breastfeeding. During a recent session, Whyte and new mother Christina Seaward explored breastfeeding tips.
“You realize, oh, it’s not just me being here to feed a baby and not know if he ain’t got enough, and then eventually you start bonding with these women because you’re there every week,” she said.
Baby Cafe has just reopened its UC West Chester hospital and primary healthcare solutions after temporarily closing during the pandemic. The purpose of the cafe is to provide pregnant women 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. Heather Evans, a board-certified lactation consultant, said it was important for mothers, especially those in minority communities, to breastfeed, as it is directly linked to infant mortality rates.
“We’re seeing lower rates of breastfeeding, but we’re seeing higher rates of infant mortality in those same groups,” Evans said. “Because breastfeeding is a protective measure for the health of mothers and babies. So we hope to help more mothers to breastfeed successfully.
This spring, Whyte will welcome her fourth child. As she awaits their arrival, she said she looks forward to spending more time at the Baby Cafe, soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
“You can never learn enough about breastfeeding,” she says. “There is always more to learn. Your experience with each child will almost always be different, so I’ll be there.