kicks off new Baby Cafe location
Presbyterian Health Foundation made the year end holidays much brighter for the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates (COBA). The Oklahoma City based foundation granted $2,500 in funds to support COBA’s Baby Cafe, a nationally acclaimed, community-based breastfeeding support program offered in Oklahoma City.
COBA’s Baby Cafe welcomes breastfeeding mothers and families semimonthly to receive support from trained lactation professionals free of charge. The gathering is café style; an open forum where mothers and families can share experiences and enjoy a healthy meal in a warm environment.
For new mothers, the seemingly simple task of feeding their babies can be surprisingly difficult. While every major medical organization recommends full breastfeeding for at least one year, too many mothers do not have the support they need to overcome the challenges they encounter.
In Oklahoma, women of color in particular face historical, cultural, and social barriers to breastfeeding. While 70% of minority women initiate breastfeeding, just 7% make it to six months. The same families that are most at risk to lose a child before his or her first birthday are also the families least likely to have the protection of breastfeeding to reduce that risk.
COBA, also an Oklahoma City based nonprofit, is a volunteer driven organization working to improve the health and well being of Oklahoma’s infants and families.
“We are comprised of 100% volunteers, and we run on passion,” said Rebecca Mannel, COBA Chair. “We are committed to improving maternal/infant health in Oklahoma through breastfeeding education, outreach, and advocacy, so we have made this particular disparity in health an advocacy priority and are so thankful to PHF for supporting this effort.”
COBA launched Baby Café initially with grant funding from two national health organizations in 2014. As federal funding for this area of need ended, COBA began seeking other funding sources to support its sole Baby Cafe, and has plans to launch more locations in OKC and Tulsa. Funds donated to this program pay for professional lactation services, breastfeeding supplies, meeting space, and healthy meals.
“A proven way to help mothers and families successfully breastfeed is to offer programs that strengthen mother-to-mother support,” said Rachel Nelson, Baby Café Committee Chair. “Studies show that mothers talking with other breastfeeding mothers helps new moms decide to start, and most importantly continue, breastfeeding.”
To celebrate the recent opening of its new location, COBA will host a Baby Café Grand Opening Celebration at Cole Community Center in Oklahoma City on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. This kid friendly, come and go event will also be COBA’s first meeting of the year. Refreshments will be provided, and all who support breastfeeding are welcome.