Breastfeeding Cafe

The Breastfeeding Café began as a passion of one person Sue Niedzielski. Sue’s desire to see new moms have positive outcomes with their beginning breastfeeding lead her to get both the Mohawk Valley Breastfeeding Network and the Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network on board to help support and spread the word about Café. The numbers of selfless hours spent learning how to use Facebook as a medium to “get the word out” and making soups and salads for the Wednesday lunches has proved to the community what a valuable asset Café is. Sue has seen the results of the Utica Café and the number of women and babies who have been helped because of it so she has worked to help other cafes around the Mohawk Valley.

The schedule for the Cafe’s is as follows:


Join Susie on the first 3 Wednesdays of the month for our Utica Breastfeeding Café at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Meeting Room, 2222 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502. Go to the back parking lot, look for signs. Free lunch. Free lending library and baby weighing available. Children always welcome (fathers and grandparents too). Come join us and a wonderful group of ladies. Great for pregnant moms too!!! Noon until 2pm. Weather permitting. Check for updates before coming. Text or call Susie at 335-2735 with questions.

The 4th Wednesday is hosted by La Leche League of Oneida County. Join Christine once a month for evening meeting from 5:30 to 7:30pm. We hope our moms who work during the day take advantage of this opportunity to meet with others who support Breastfeeding.

On Months there is a 5th Wednesday — There is no meeting.


Rome Breastfeeding Café meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at Trinity Church, 215 W Court Street, Rome, NY Noon until 2. Please join us in this beautiful space for lunch and great conversation. Baby weighing is available. Call/text Ginger at 269-2042 for more information.


Join the ladies from Oneida Hospital on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month for a Breastfeeding Café at 607 Seneca St. Oneida NY, from 1 to 3pm. Baby weighing available. It is a great place for women, (whether you are pregnant, nursing, not nursing anymore, or simply a woman who supports breastfeeding) to share great conversation, and a light lunch. Hope to see you there! Call the Patty or Holly at 315 -361-2065 with questions.


For more information on Herkimer Café’s call 315- 720-0124


December 12. 2010 12:01AM
Breastfeeding moms getting more acceptance, support
(That’s Me in the Brown Sweater!)

PHOTO/ NICOLE L. CVETNIC / Observer-Dispatch
Sarah Noonan, of Utica, breastfeeds daughter Caera, 3 months, during the Breastfeeding Cafe.
To lactation consultant Susan Niedzielski asking a mother if she’ll breastfeed or bottle feed is like asking a mother whether or not she’ll use a car seat.
Breastfeeding is that important, she said.

A large number of new mothers agree, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which show that three out of every four new mothers in the United States starts out breastfeeding. here in Herkimer and Oneida counties, 60 percent of women in were breastfeeding after being discharged from the hospital, according to the La Leche League.

But based on low breastfeeding rates when babies are 3, 6 and 12 months of age, it seems mothers may be facing barriers to continuing with breastfeeding, despite a 17 percent rise in breastfeeding rates nationally from 1993 to 2006, as found by National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys.

Local mothers currently breastfeeding their newborns, infants and toddlers agreed that though people’s perceptions have changed over the years, society doesn’t always make it easy to breastfeed. From work schedules that don’t accommodate breastfeeding to misinformed friends and family members, these mothers had to seek support online or through support groups.

One such group is the Breastfeeding Café, held Wednesdays in the Lawler Room at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica.
“I was a breastfed baby, so were my siblings, so I didn’t give it a second thought,” said 29-year-old Sara Noonan during a recent Breastfeeding Café session. Even so, she experienced a variety of difficulties breastfeeding her 3-month-old daughter Caera.

“Not having this support system, I wouldn’t have continued.”
As natural as it is to breastfeed, the process doesn’t always come easily, and in a society where mothers may not be as physically and socially connected as they were 20 to 30 years ago, it’s important to make sure new mothers have the support systems they need to give their baby the healthiest option, said Barbara Brown, RN and certified lactation counselor at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. Seventy-eight percent of new mothers who have their babies at Bassett leave breastfeeding, she said.
“A lot of times people want to give up when they start breastfeeding. They say to us the baby isn’t getting enough (milk). We try to reassure them that none of this is true. Mother nature provides for the baby,” Brown said. “We try to emphasize that they’re getting what they need at the moment, but they have to be patient. We also let them know of (support services) when they go home.”

Hospitals’ support of breastfeeding mothers is key, said Diana Haldenwang, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network.

“If hospitals are supportive, mothers are more likely to breastfeed and breastfeed longer, Haldenwang said.
And because of the health benefits for mother and baby, it’s so important to have mothers breastfeeding – especially for the first few months, experts say.

“It’s the perfect nutrition for a human child,” Brown said, adding that breastfeeding protects babies from ear infections and gastro-intestinal complications. Breastfed babies are, likewise, less prone to allergies and harmful bacteria, she said. “It has all the correct calories and antibodies and nutrients.”

Even state programs, such as Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program (WIC), are looking at the impact of breastfeeding – to encourage both healthy babies and cost savings.

In September, the New York State Department of Health launched a $1.6 million public health education campaign, via TV spots, online ads, and ads on buses and bus shelters, to encourage mothers to breastfeed.

Much of that encouragement is being driven by WIC.
“The evidence is clear: being breastfed is important to the lifelong health of infants,” said Patricia Hess, director of the Health Department’s Division of Nutrition, which administers WIC. “We encourage new mothers to breastfeed their newborns and to continue to breastfeed after they return to work.”

Having state backing is a help, but the message that breastfeeding is natural, cost-effective and the best option for mothers and babies needs to infiltrate society on a larger scale, said Ginger Swasey, Oneida County WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor.

Supporting a breastfeeding mother costs WIC 45 percent less than a formula-feeding mother, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture. Federal funds spent on formula each year through WIC adds up to about $578 million, according to the USDA.

“We’re fed consumerism – there isn’t a doll that doesn’t come with a bottle,” she said. “We really are a commerce-driven society, so the idea that putting a baby to your breast is a foreign concept.”

Nicole Roberts has been aware of people’s discomfort and misconceptions about breastfeeding since she decided nine years ago to breastfeed her first child. Roberts, 41, of New Hartford, has four children. She learned early on to find positive support systems.

“In the beginning, if people thought it was gross, I was sensitive to that,” Roberts said. “Now, I’m more comfortable and surround myself with those who accept it.”
Even despite uncomfortable stares while discreetly nursing in public or being banished to a bedroom while visiting friends, the women agreed that most times, they experience support more than anything else.

Take 23-year-old Leslie Zimmerman, of Oneida, for example. Her employer understood how important it was for her to be able to breastfeed her daughter Amelia, and offered her the option to bring Amelia to the chiropractor’s office, where she works as an office manager.

Using a sling-like wrap to secure Amelia and a blanket to cover herself, patients often times aren’t aware she might be nursing, and those who do “think it’s amazing that I can do this,” Zimmerman said. “I’ll stand there and feed her while I make appointments.”

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