St. Peter’s Health Partners Celebrates Newest Baby Café in Rensselaer County

On Tuesday, March 5, St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) held a grand opening celebration and open house for its newest Baby Café in the Capital Region, located within the Petersburgh Public Library at 69 Main St. in Petersburgh.

From left: Erin Sinisgalli, Director of Community Health Programs; Kathy DeRosa, Chief Mission Officer; Stephanie Avienu, IBCLC, Chloe Anne Blaise, MPH, Community Relations Liaison; Hia Weitzman, IBCLC, Community Liaison; and Amanda Mulhern, MS, Manager, Community Health Programs

The family-friendly event also included representatives from the SPHP-supported Healthy Families of Rensselaer County and MOMS Program, as well as WIC and Mom Starts Here.

Open on the first and third Tuesday of every month, the Baby Café is a space where pregnant and nursing parents can share tips and techniques and socialize with other parents. Free, one-on-one feeding assistance is also available from certified lactation specialists and peer counselors.

“With the opening of our new Baby Café in Petersburgh, SPHP is expanding access to quality lactation services for underserved families in Rensselaer County,” said Erin Sinisgalli, director of Community Health Programs for SPHP. “This is especially important in helping community members achieve the highest level of health. Long-term studies of human feeding show it contributes to a lifetime of good health for babies, especially when it comes to obesity prevention. These babies learn how to regulate their food intake and develop healthy eating patterns as they grow.”

Jackson DeMarco

New mom Lauren DeMarco was among those in attendance at the Petersburgh event. A labor and delivery nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital, Lauren has experienced the benefits of the Baby Cafe firsthand. After giving birth to her first child, Jackson, now seven months old, Lauren experienced some initial feeding issues so she began attending the Baby Cafe in Troy.

“I was a little bit worried about my supply and they were so reassuring in helping me understand that what I was experiencing was normal,” Lauren explained. “They helped me with pumping and positioning, and knowing that I was not alone and that I had support from them and anything that I needed during my breastfeeding journey.”

The Baby Café at the Petersburgh Public Library is one of eight Baby Cafés supported by SPHP in the Capital Region, and one of three Baby Cafes supported by SPHP in Rensselaer County. The other sites in Rensselaer County are located on the Samaritan Hospital – St. Mary’s Campus in Troy, and at the Stephentown Memorial Library in Stephentown. SPHP also supports sites in Schenectady at the Mont Pleasant Branch Library and Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literary Center; in Albany at The Collaboratory located inside the Albany Housing Authority Building on South Pearl Street; and in Mechanicville at the Mechanicville Public Library. There is also a virtual-only Baby Café based out of St. Peter’s Hospital.

The establishment of the Baby Café network is part of an effort funded by a New York State Department of Health “Creating Breastfeeding Friendly Communities” grant. The aim of the project is to fund a coordinated community network to build and expand community-based feeding partnerships, as well as to reduce the racial and ethnic community disparities in the prevalence of feeding.

Pregnant individuals, breastfeeding individuals, partners, and siblings are welcome at all Baby Cafés. To learn more about the SPHP-supported Baby Cafes:

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