Sep 17, 2013 9:04 PM by Kathy Kuretich, KSBY News

Local store offers help for breastfeeding moms

A downtown San Luis Obispo baby store is celebrating 12 years in business. It's a big accomplishment, but what makes Simply Mama truly unique is what the store owner gives away for free.

Inside Mission Mall, Simply Mama has all the goodies you'd expect in a locally-owned store -- strollers, rockers, blankets, and adorable baby clothes. But in the back, you can find owner and registered nurse Kathleen Huggins, who offers a special service, that is not for sale. She helps new moms during the sometimes difficult first few weeks of breastfeeding.

"Moms come in and we get them so that they're out of crisis," Huggins said.

Courtney Perales is one of the countless women Kathleen has helped in her more than 25 years as a breastfeeding consultant, founder of the San Luis Obispo Breastfeeding Warmline, and author of The Nursing Mother's Companion, a book in its sixth edition which has sold more than 1-million copies.

"We were totally in a panic stage when we met her," said Perales. But after working with Kathleen, her five-week old son, Gunner, is gaining weight and both he and Courtney are much more at ease.

"And it was so, such a relief to go home and say, we can do this, and I can sleep better tonight, and just feel that relief," Perales said.

It is her passion that drives Kathleen to volunteer her time and share her vast knowledge with moms.

"When you look at breastfed babies, they have fewer colds, fewer ear infections, fewer gastro-intestinal infections, and then when we're looking long term, we see a difference in IQ," said Huggins.

Usually, moms only need a few weeks with Kathleen and they're nursing comfortably, but her advice and guidance stays with them for years.

"Women come into the store and go, I know you don't remember me, but you helped me nurse my baby at General Hospital, and now we have another one," she said.

Most moms are referred to Kathleen at Simply Mama by other lactation consultants.



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