Setting up a Baby Café

The Baby Café model of care works in many settings

The clear and consistent Baby Café model of care has been proven to work successfully in a variety of settings and is flexible enough to accommodate different community profiles. 

This model works when a Baby Café breastfeeding drop-in is fully funded, run by skilled facilitators working closely with local health care providers, and can be freely accessed by all mothers needing support with breastfeeding. 

With a proven model to follow and resources and support in place, setting up and running a Baby Café drop-in can be straightforward and time-efficient for staff involved.

Why choose the Baby Café model?

Why Collective Impact works

What benefits you receive from your Baby Café License

Applying for a license

You will need to apply for a license to use the Baby Café name, logo and resources. All genuine Baby Café drop-in centers are licensed by us and are listed on this website, and we expect them to be run to the same high standards, following our policies and guidelines. Any other drop-in purporting to be a Baby Café drop-in is using the name without our authorization. 


Free care

Free of charge, or insurance-covered  IBCLC care should be available to any U.S. Baby Café mom presenting with an issue requiring intervention (mastitis, thrush, failure to thrive, weight loss, etc).



You must be familiar with our policies before completing your application. 


Staffing Guidelines

Ideally, the best scenario for a U.S. cafe is to have an IBCLC present at every Cafe meeting.
In cases where there may be no IBCLC available to lead every Cafe, see guidelines below for alternate staffing.
Possible scenarios:
Tier 1- IBCLC present at all Cafe meetings
Tier 2- IBCLC present at EVERY OTHER Cafe meeting, other meetings may have Alternate Staffing (as defined below)
Tier 3- Two (2) or more Alternate Staff only at EVERY Cafe meeting-
Alternate Staffing may consist of a combination of:
  • 2 CLCs
  • 1 CLC + 1 WIC Peer Counselor, Trained Breastfeeding Counselor, or La Leche League Leader
  • 1 Midwife/OB/MD/RN + 1 WIC PC, CLC, Trained Breastfeeding Counselor, or La Leche League Leader
* 2 Peer Counselors without CLC training is not adequate staffing to handle emergent issues with babies/mothers unless there is an IBCLC/MD/Midwife on the premises
* Alternate staff scenarios include:
- Weekly verbal report given to an IBCLC by the alternate staff
- Monthly face-to-face meeting between IBCLC and alternate staff to discuss case studies/issues
Tiers 2 and 3 are required to have IBCLC care available, Free-of-charge, to any Cafe mom presenting with an issue requiring immediate intervention (mastitis, thrush, failure to thrive, weight loss, etc)
In special cases, only upon approval of Baby Café USA, a suggested donation may be asked of the mother by private IBCLCs, if there is no clinical availability of an IBCLC in the area serviced by the Café.


Guidelines for the use of volunteers in staffing a Baby Café

Comparison of various Breastfeeding Professionals/Counselors: 

The Landscape of Breastfeeding Support
Scope of practice for IBCLCs
Scope of practice for CLCs



Licensing/Registration fee $400

This is payable on approval of your application. This initial registration fee covers:

  • Use of the Baby Café name, logo and branding.
  • First year of licensing.
  • The Baby Café Toolkit, which provides guidelines for delivering all aspects of the service.
  • Access to the Resource Bank – a password-protected area of the website containing resources/templates and reports for your use.

Training fee $350–$750 

There is a US training module to be delivered before the official launch of your Baby Café, to ensure all those involved in delivering the service are aware of the key objectives and ways of working that are central to the Baby Café model. Depending on the type of module, (in person or by web) the fee for the training ranges from $350 to $750 (the lesser amount for a webinar, the greater for an in-person training with site-visit included), this will be arranged between BC USA and the facilitator once the application has been approved.


Annual Renewal fee (currently $150)

This is also due your first anniversary, and on April 15th of subsequent years. This will enable you to continue to receive the benefits of being part of the growing Baby Café network. 


Additional costs

Registration, training and renewal fees do not cover day-to-day  running costs for your service such as venue rental, facilitator fees, refreshments, publicity and so on. You will need include a suitable amount in your budget to cover such costs.


First step: Register your interest

Click here to request more information about the application process. Once you have registered your interest you should receive an email immediately, containing the links you need to access our online application form and guidance for completing it. If you use a work or an AOL e-mail address to register, do check that it accepts incoming attachments from unfamiliar addresses as sometimes our email is blocked by over enthusiastic e-mail filters. 


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If you are interested in setting up a Baby Café, please click here to register your interest and access our online application process.