The Fairbanks Breastfeeding Coalition is currently working to establish a local collaborative breastfeeding support service called Baby Café. This is a model used all over the world and in over 100 sites around the United States. The Fairbanks Breastfeeding Coalition, as a subcommittee of the Alaska Breastfeeding Coalition has been granted approval to apply for licensing. Establishing a café in Fairbanks would be the first one in Alaska!
The mission of Baby Café USA is “to promote and support the development of community-based, drop-in breastfeeding support sites offering on-going, high-quality lactation care free-of-charge to breastfeeding mothers.” This mission fits perfectly with what we see as an ongoing health need in our community. It does not replace a breastfeeding clinic or individual lactation consultant appointment, but instead offers more general support such as La Leche League used to in our community. The structure of Baby Cafés includes the following standards:
• No appointment needed- Baby Café site open on a weekly basis with a set schedule
• No cost for attending, and all resources on site are free for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and babies
• Support from staff trained in breastfeeding and the Baby Café model
• Opportunities for participants to share experiences and build peer-to-peer support
• Free refreshments, comfortable seating, and open-forum discussions
The clinic would be held on a weekly basis for a two hour period on a week night evening. The Fairbanks Breastfeeding Coalition has 3 trained International Lactation Consultants who have committed to volunteer their time for the next year to run the clinic. Space for the clinic has been donated by First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fairbanks.
The funds from this community funded Our 2 Cents grant will cover the $750 program training fee, which is the only financial cost to become licensed with Baby Cafe and it will provide a $250 budget for initial advertising and food for the launch of Alaska's first Baby Cafe in Fairbanks!