Lactation education

NURSING NAVIGATION: Mama Bear Lactation Care expands

BEAR HUG. Mama Bear Lactation’s services include expert, compassionate breastfeeding advice and support. (photo submitted)

At one of the most vulnerable times in a new parent’s life, Jennifer Hafele, Mama Bear Lactation Care’s Mama Bear, provides expert, empathetic breastfeeding advice and support. Hafele is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), of which there are just over 33,000 worldwide. An IBCLC helps expectant and new parents plan, start and maintain breastfeeding for their child.

Hafele combines experience gained caring for her three children with clinical knowledge and counseling to provide breastfeeding information and support tailored to each family. Its services include individual pre and postnatal care plans, return to work and pumping plans, and a variety of classes and support groups.

Winning a Red Letter scholarship in 2019 helped her grow her business, opening a new classroom and office in January 2022 at 1813 Brackett Avenue in Eau Claire. Excited to return to work and in-person learning, Hafele said “the magic happens when people come together. Isolation weighed so heavily on everyone.

The weekly free online support group that Hafele started at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and still exists, often featuring guest speakers and providing a forum for parents to ask questions and connect with others. Other classes include Gentle Weaning and Confident Birth and Beyond, and Hafele offers virtual and in-person home visits. She is now in the process of expanding her offering of classes and support groups. “There will be a real assortment of options available,” Hafele said.

Mama Bear Lactation Care grew out of Hafele’s experience attending and then leading local La Leche League meetings as a volunteer lactation counselor. At the time, Hafele planned to return to work as a high school English teacher. Instead, she said she “took a leap of faith and dove headlong into the life of a mother I didn’t even know I wanted.”

Hafele’s love for her work shines through, and with the evolution of clinical knowledge over the years, she expects to stay busy “raising awareness of so many topics affecting babies and new parents” and responding to new needs as they arise.

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