A grand opening celebration and open house were held on August 29 for the nation’s newest Baby Café, located at 1036 Crane Street in Schenectady.
Open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Thursday of every month, the St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) Baby Café at the Schenectady County Mont Pleasant Library Branch is a space where pregnant and nursing mothers can share tips and techniques, and socialize with other moms. Free, one-on-one breastfeeding assistance is also available from certified lactation specialists and peer counselors.
“We are thrilled to launch this newest Baby Café, which will offer community support for breastfeeding women in Schenectady County, and enable them to breastfeed for longer,” said Erin Sinisgalli, director of SPHP Community Health Programs. “Long-term studies of breastfeeding show it contributes to a lifetime of good health for babies, especially when it comes to obesity prevention. Breastfed babies learn how to regulate their food intake and develop healthy eating patterns as they grow.”
The café at the Mont Pleasant Library Branch is the second Baby Café in Schenectady supported by SPHP. Both are facilitated by Schenectady County Public Health Services and are affiliated with the nonprofit organization Baby Café USA.
“We wanted to open an additional Baby Café in Schenectady County to reach moms in a different area in the City and the Rotterdam area, which is a target area for the Creating Breastfeeding Friendly Communities grant,” said Kristen Lynch, outreach specialist at SPHP and coordinator of the grant. “We choose Thursdays because it is a day without many breastfeeding support options in Schenectady County.”
The New York State Department of Health awarded the five-year “Creating Breastfeeding Friendly Communities” grant to SPHP and five other organizations in 2017. The aim of the project is to fund a coordinated community network to build and expand community-based breastfeeding partnerships, as well as to reduce the racial and ethnic community disparities in the prevalence of breastfeeding.
“Having our grand opening coincide with Black Breastfeeding Week, helps us really address one of the many goals of the grant by highlighting the huge health benefits of breastfeeding, and encouraging all African American women to breastfeed, and for those who are already breastfeeding, to continue,” Sinisgalli said.
The Baby Café at the Mont Pleasant Library Branch is one of four Baby Cafés supported by SPHP in the Capital Region. The other sites are located at the Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center in Schenectady, in Troy at the CEO Community Resource Center at 2328 5th Avenue, and in Albany at the Baby Institute on Washington Avenue. An additional site will be opening soon at 169 Mohawk Street in Cohoes.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, partners, and siblings are welcome at all Baby Cafés.
Health care providers who wish to volunteer or participate in the Baby Cafés should contact Kristen Lynch at SPHP Community Health Programs at 518-459-2550.
Baby Café USA
Baby Café USA is a national network of free breastfeeding drop-ins, combining the expertise of skilled practitioners and mothers to offer invaluable support to parents at all stages of breastfeeding in a professional but non-clinical, café-style environment.
Baby Café USA has more than 45 drop-ins around the United States, in 14 states, supporting more than 2,000 moms every year. All Baby Cafés are free, and are open to all those interested in any aspect of breastfeeding – mothers, partners, supporters – and take place in community venues. Baby Café USA was established in 2011.
St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs
St. Peter’s Health Partners Community Health Programs collaborates with healthcare providers, school districts, businesses, public health stakeholders, and communities to improve the health and well-being of patients and community members. Through several grant-funded initiatives, it offers programs that provide support and encourage healthy eating habits, improved physical fitness, breastfeeding, and tobacco dependence treatment.