Baby Cafe Welcomes National Founder For Training

The Blackwell Chapel Baby Cafe recently hosted a board training at the First Presbyterian Church of Jamestown with Lucia Jenkins, Baby Cafe U.S. founder. Pictured, from left, are Lisa Lynde of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation; Miguel Correa, Blackwell Chapel Baby Cafe Advisory Board member; Jenkins; Dave Wilfong, Advisory Board member and county legislator; and Angie Peck of the CRCF. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

In her second visit to the area, Lucia Jenkins, Baby Cafe U.S. founder, imparted words of wisdom and other supports to Baby Cafe board members and others.

Jenkins was hosted by the Blackwell Chapel Baby Cafe at First Presbyterian Church of Jamestown on Wednesday to provide a training for board members thanks to a grant from the Karl Peterson Field of Interest Fund, which is administered by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

The Blackwell Chapel Baby Cafe is located on the second floor of the Gateway Center, which opened in June 2016 and is the first of its kind in Chautauqua County. Baby Cafe USA is a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with Baby Cafe Cheritable Trust of the UK, and its purpose is to support and encourage breastfeeding in areas that have low breastfeeding rates. The cafes offers professionally trained and certified lactation counselors, a nurse practitioner, trained volunteers, support groups and a resource library.

The training session focused on new breastfeeding initiatives, laws and other information necessary to the functioning of the Baby Cafe.

The Rev. Reggie Smith and Rev. Chloe Smith thanked the board members and organizers who made the event possible, as well as the representatives of the Community Foundation for supporting the event.

Julie Thompson, doula and trainer, gave some insight to why she became a doula, a person who assists a woman through childbirth, and can also assist a family after the birth of the baby.

“My own mother was in foster care from the age of 12 to 18,” Thompson said. “She married young, and had her first baby right away and she knew nothing about the birthing process. She found herself for three days screaming in the hospital, just hoping to get away from this and not knowing what to do.”

She said that spurred her interest in the field. Thompson said she sees a need for every woman to have the one-on-one support and care throughout the pregnancy and beyond.

“I just wish my mom would’ve had that,” she said. “I’ve traveled all over, and I just find it interesting that birthing women all have the same needs. They need that care, the education and the support – all women should have that support.”

She said Baby Cafe doulas have been working with the UPMC Chautauqua WCA maternity nursing staff, and doulas will soon have identification which will allow others to be aware they are part of the team. The doulas were also invited to be a part of a childhood education class and explain the role of a doula and what they do, as well as an in-service for hospital staff.

“This program will work because we have people who are willing to use their gifts,” Thompson said. “It won’t just work, it will thrive when we’re doing what we’re called to do. I know the doulas of this community just want to help the women of this community one birth at a time, one contraction at a time.”

For more information on Baby Cafes, visit their website