St. Cloud Baby Café Celebrates First Birthday

Birthing Services
“It’s interesting to get different perspectives and ideas. There isn’t always just one right way to do something. Everybody brings different expertise to the table, and you get to see what works.”

St. Cloud Baby Café, a mother’s lactation group, is celebrating its first anniversary in May with a special celebration Tuesday, May 16, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at St. Cloud Area Family Y, 2001 Stockinger Dr, St. Cloud.

The free weekly group was formed as a way for mothers to learn more about breastfeeding and connect with other women going through similar experiences.

The anniversary bash will feature 10-minute chair massages, ‘boob’ cupcakes, punch and crafts including nursing necklaces. All who are interested are welcome to attend and learn more about the group.

Laura Hoffman is a mother who regularly attends and says she started going even before she gave birth to her baby.

“They helped me with colostrum harvesting. That’s where you express milk before your baby is born. It’s a precaution so you already have milk when you go to the hospital,” Laura said.

That’s just one example of the topics covered and discussed each Tuesday. The group is led by Jeanne Friebe, CentraCare – Plaza Clinic Obstetrics & Women’s Health Lactation Consultant RN, and Kimberly Welvaert, CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Lactation RN, with help from various other experts in public health. The group leaders all have lactation-specific training. Jeanie and Kim are both international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLC).

“It’s interesting to get different perspectives and ideas. There isn’t always just one right way to do something. Everybody brings different expertise to the table, and you get to see what works,” said Laura.

Mothers can feel comfortable asking questions and exploring different topics casually and flexibly. Topics change each week and there’s no set schedule. Moms have the freedom to ask whatever is on their minds and trust they’re getting reliable and quality information.

“More women are trying to breastfeed after breast surgery and are being successful,” marveled Jeanne. “They used to be told not to try because they wouldn’t have a good chance. We’re seeing people do amazing things after breast surgery.”

babiesOne of the biggest challenges new moms face today is trusting the information they find on the internet. “Just reading things online makes you wonder what’s even true or if it’s a good idea,” Laura expressed.

Social media has been the source of several discussion topics. New moms wonder if some of the techniques and advice they’re seeing online are safe.

“It’s good and bad,” Kim admitted. “I have some moms who get their information from TikTok and some of it is right on target. But then you see these other moms who seem to have it together. They are dressed, they have makeup on, their hair is perfect … they have a freezer stash of breast milk. As someone who would be comparing themselves to that mom, that would be intimidating to me.”

The group is meant to be a judgment-free zone for new moms to learn, network and feed their babies.

“What’s nice with this group is we have a scale,” Kim exclaimed. “We do pre- and post-weights and keep track of it from week to week. Moms can look back and see if baby is getting enough and is growing and thriving.”

Children are welcome to attend the group with their moms. For a small cost, the YMCA also offers childcare.

“I feel like in the early days when your baby is always on you — you’re just always holding a baby. It’s nice to go and be around other people who love to hold babies too,” Laura laughed. “You can hang out and not feel like you’re the only one. No one is going to judge you if you show up in your sweatpants.”

For the moms who can’t attend the weekly two-hour group in person, St. Cloud Baby Café has a Facebook page that covers all aspects of breastfeeding and pumping virtually.

“I just feel like it’s been a supportive and helpful thing for me,” Laura acknowledged.

For those interested in learning more about the St. Cloud Baby Café, the group meets at the St. Cloud Family Y every Tuesday from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

“Come join us for our anniversary bash. There will be fancy punch,” laughed Kim.