Home » ARTICLES » Birth Matters » Shop Local!
Shop Local! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Laura Maxson LM, CPM   

The Lactation Center at Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center is a bit of a hidden treasure. While most moms giving birth at Sutter might know about their lactation services and products, other moms in the area may not.

The Sutter Lactation Center (SLC) offers a variety of services and products for sale including:

  • Personal electric breastpumps
  • Pump parts and flanges in a variety of sizes
  • Disposable and washable breastpads
  • Lanolin nipple ointment
  • Nursing pillows (My Breast-Friend)
  • Amazingly soothing Gel pads for sore nipples
  • Nursing tank tops
  • Nursing stools
  • Baby wraps and slings
  • And more!

Specialty supplies, like hospital grade breastpump rentals and breast shields, need some counseling from one of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) before use and generally require an appointment.

Appointments can also be made simply to get breastfeeding tips, check the baby’s weight or help with specific problems. A lactation visit is only $60, with follow-up visits at $30. A sliding scale is available so that none are turned away. SLC does not bill insurance.

Free services (donations always accepted) include:

  • Care and concern of the IBCLCs (Lili, Maggie, Rachel & Katie)
  • Telephone support
  • Weekly breastfeeding support groups & a postpartum wellness group 
  • Scale for weight checks at the support groups

Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center is unique in Santa Cruz in that it is a specialty hospital, not a full service hospital. Because it doesn’t have the expenses and responsibilities of a full service emergency department, Sutter Maternity serves the community in other ways – including the Lactation Center’s sliding scale.

A sliding scale is quite different from providing blanket free services. New parents are sometimes in a bit of a blur and those who have utilized these supportive services for free might consider making a donation retroactively. For families on a tight budget, the ability to access this care on a sliding scale is vital; for families, who might stop at Starbucks on the way home, maybe toss five dollars in the donation basket at the support group every now and then. Or make it an official tax-deductible donation and ask for a receipt. So often families give glowing testimonials about the help they received, but forget to make even a small donation. What if every mom who came in for an appointment paid just five, ten or twenty dollars; or if those grateful parents who can afford it made a nice birthday donation on their child’s fist birthday?

Along those same lines, many moms come in to SLC for a bra fitting but leave without buying a bra, perhaps ordering online thinking to save a dollar to two. The result is that the lactation center is considering giving up the bra business altogether. This would be a huge loss to our community.

What do you get from a bra fitting at Sutter Lactation Center?

  1. Personal one-on-one help.
  2. Knowledgeable help from the IBCLCs to find a nursing bra that will fit well for every body type.
  3. Meeting an IBCLC when there isn’t a problem makes it easier to come back if help is needed once baby arrives. 
  4. To choose from a selection of Bravado and Medela bras (your size can be ordered if out of stock).

Need a shower gift or new baby present – how about a gift certificate to the SLC?  Available in any amount, a mom can choose from a new bra or other product, or apply it to a lactation visit.

Speaking of breastfeeding… World Breastfeeding Week is Aug 1-7 and will likely stretch into the full month of August! Activities will include the annual Santa Cruz County sixth annual Walk for Breastfeeding taking place in Watsonville on Friday, August 10, at 3pm at the Watsonville Plaza. The WIC program for moms and babies will have free T-shirts, information tables and the farmer’s market will be happening there too – very festive! This is a fun, free event for the whole family. Join the Santa Cruz County Breastfeeding Coalition and other organizations and families for walk around the plaza and down the street.

Both Sutter & Dominican have achieved Baby-Friendly Hospital Designation this year and Watsonville Hospital has started the process, as well, this means there’s lots to celebrate! Baby-Friendly designation means (among other things) that babies are spending more time skin-to-skin with their moms after birth than ever before and breastfeeding is the priority in the first hours after birth.

Local hospitals will have ongoing breastfeeding displays and information available during the month of August. Parents can attend Birth Network’s free Meet the Doulas event on August 19, from 4-6pm at Sutter Hospital. While not primarily a breastfeeding event, studies remind us that the presence of a birth doula decreases birth complications and increases breastfeeding rates. And of course, postpartum doulas provide in-home breastfeeding support.


Laura Maxson, LM, CPM, the mother of three grown children, has been working with pregnant and breastfeeding women for over 20 years. Currently she is the executive director of Birth Network of Santa Cruz County and has a homebirth midwifery practice. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




Sutter Lactation Store & Office – 477-2229

Mon. – Fri. 10-4, (Thu 10-2) By appointment for other times


Walk for Breastfeeding Aug. 10, 3pm

Corner of Beach St. & Main, Watsonville


Meet the Doulas – Sun., Aug. 19, 4-6 pm

Sutter Hospital


Find more local breastfeeding help – Birthnet.org

© Copyright 2008 all rights reserved