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H.E.R. Institute Announces Opening of NOLA Baby Café at Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner

KENNER — H.E.R. Institute is expanding its breastfeeding resources to assist Spanish-speaking families with the opening of a new NOLA Baby Café at Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner.

The mission of NOLA Baby Café is to reduce breastfeeding disparities by providing a free space for families and bringing breastfeeding support to communities that have traditionally lacked breastfeeding role models, community and peer support and may have experienced cultural misconceptions. NOLA Baby Café is licensed by Café USA and adheres to their guidelines.

NOLA Baby Café is open every Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Creole Room of Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner, located at 200 West Esplanade Ave. This collaboration provides free resources covering perinatal health, breastfeeding, child development and positive parenting practices geared to expecting parents, parents with children, families and caregivers.

“Breastmilk feeding is one of the most important ways we can improve the health of our babies and mothers. At Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner, we are excited to partner with the H.E.R. Institute and NOLA Baby Café to meet our patients and community where they are to remove barriers to breastfeeding and provide an additional place to turn to for support, guidance and advice,” said Veronica Gillispie-Bell, MD, head of women’s services, Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner.

Ochsner Medical Center – Kenner will provide free space and access to increase breastfeeding support, education, and awareness for the new joint project. H.E.R. Institute will operate the NOLA Baby Cafe’, a safe, non-judgmental space for breastfeeding families with trained staff including an international board-certified lactation consultant.

“This is an important step to providing Spanish-speaking families with free access to culturally relevant lactation care where they can find community-based support to assist them. Currently minority families breastfeed less than 4-5 times the rate of their White counterparts. Although Spanish-speaking families breastfeed beyond 18 months on average, they tend to supplement with formula for non-medical reasons,” stated Portia Williams, co-founder of NOLA Baby Café.

“The goal of this collaboration is to improve breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and raise awareness of human milk donations. This partnership allows for parents and caregivers from the moment they learn of their pregnancy to have a supportive nurturing environment where they can build parenting competencies and feel supported in their decision to breastfeed all while fostering the development of their children’s cognitive, physical, social-emotional, and language skills,” said Williams.

NOLA Baby Café has served as a resource for mothers since 2016 with goal of removing barriers to breastfeeding in the community. For more information about the NOLA Baby Café and the H.E.R. Institute, visit

About Nola Baby Cafe’ and Baby Café USA


H.E.R. Institute was founded with a Vision to make Healthy,Happy, and Peaceful Communities. Our Mission is to inspire, educate, and support women and their families along their journey to a healthier life through Health, Education, and Research. Our motto is Changing the community through H.E.R. H.E.R. has chosen improving breastfeeding rates, decreasing maternal and infant mortality and improving reproductive health outcomes for women as the primary areas of focus for the next decade. NOLA Baby Cafe’, H.E.R Institute’s flagship program was founded June1, 2016 by Portia Williams and Meshawn Tarver in partnership with National Birth Equity Collaborative and funded by Community and Hospitals Advances Maternal Practices (CHAMPS). Nola Baby Cafe’ is a licensed Baby cafe USA which is a non profit 501(C). Nola Baby Cafe’ additional location at Oscher Kenner will be in line with its first licensed baby cafe’ in Louisiana. For more information about Nola Baby Cafe, please contact Portia L. Williams, Facilitator/ State Coordinator at:


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