A Bright New Home for the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington

The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington began as an overcrowded K Street staple in 1998. Founder Pat Shelly’s vision grew over the years to include a retail storefront, individual consultations, a robust class curriculum (with long waiting lists) and a rental outpost. 'I built the center around asking and answering the question of what women needed and making sure that it was available to her. I also knew women wanted to share experiences and I wanted to create just the right environment for them,' Shelly says. Quotes from the article 'The Importance of Breastfeeding Centers'  from the Washington Post by Julia Beck is the founder of the It’s Working Project and Forty Weeks. The Center is about to move to a larger space which will address many parental needs (dads included) through classes, groups and support systems. It will also feature a multi-user pumping lounge for any mother who needs it. The space is open to all, from local moms (great for pumping/working moms in such an office-rich neighborhood) to traveling moms. The space will have two hospital-grade pumps, plush seating and the added bonus of support in the form of lactation consultants and retail, in case a mom forgot anything. 'Cultures that have retained breast-feeding traditions all have a period of community support during which mothers are tended to and cared for,' says Gina Caruso, deputy director of the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. 'Our culture is devoid of this tradition and beyond that it doesn’t have any programs set up to mimic these traditions.' Take breast-feeding: Getting baby to latch and nurse is just one step. Avoiding painful infections, handling breast milk at home, on the road or at work, and choosing the right tools and techniques are all necessary to learn as well. And this requires a village’s worth of insight.

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