Trish Martin didn't need help the first time, but breast-feeding her second baby was a little trickier.

Her 3-month-old girl wanted to nurse all the time and never seemed satisfied, said Martin, 31. So Martin called Mama's Latte and within hours, TJ Marsh arrived at Martin's home.

Martin learned her baby wasn't latching on properly to nurse, and so the infant wasn't filling up during her feedings.

Things improved quickly.

"(TJ) wrote out a care plan for me so I could remember what to do," Martin said. "They've just been a tremendous help for me."

Marsh and her business partner, Sibylle Rundel, started Mama's Latte here in 2006. Since then, they've helped up to 300 mothers with in-home services.

Rundel, 44, and Marsh, 50, worked together for five years as doulas (people trained to help mothers through birth and postpartum) with Desert Doulas before starting their new business.

"Working as a birth doula, you also have to help with the initial breast-feeding because you stay there for the birth and you stay there for the first latch after the baby is born," Rundel said.

The friends decided women needed more help with the breast-feeding, and they needed it at home.

"It's very hard to get the support you need unless you can throw everyone in the car and get down to a hospital where they have outpatient support," Marsh said. "It's so much easier to have someone come to your home, with your chairs and your cushions."

Earlier this week, a study published in the journal Pediatrics showed the lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women fed their babies only breast milk for the first six months of life. The results are only an estimate, but several experts who reviewed the analysis said the methods and conclusions seem sound.

In addition to helping nursing mothers, Mama's Latte also offers consultations for pregnant women who want to learn about breast-feeding before the baby arrives. Rundel and Marsh said they are board-certified lactation consultants. The pair charge $65 for the first visit and $40 per visit after that. Clients living in rural areas outside of Tucson are charged more, Rundel said.

Martin said Marsh still checks in on her now, long after their January visits. She said she finds that comforting.

"TJ calls me probably once every week or two weeks. And she's always available for me to contact," Martin said.

Marsh said they stay as long as it takes to help mama and baby - or, in Jackie McGuire's case, babies.

McGuire gave birth to twin boys 12 days ago. They were born prematurely and so McGuire, a first-time mother, also was faced with that challenge.

"After my first night in the hospital, it was clear that breast-feeding required a lot of work and wasn't quite as natural as I expected," McGuire wrote in an e-mail to the Star for this story. She supplemented with formula to make sure her babies received the nutrition they needed, but ultimately, she wanted to breastfeed.

"The lactation specialists at the hospital were great, but unfortunately I couldn't bring them home with me and by day four I was on my way home with two babies that I couldn't feed on my own," she said.

After a day at home, she sought help.

"I had heard about Mama's Latte from my OB-GYN and pediatrician," she wrote. Rundel arrived at her home the same day McGuire called.

"She showed me some techniques and we were able to get both babies to latch on, with some assistance," she wrote. "Our next session with Sibylle, the boys showed off what they had learned. We had made huge strides since our first meeting with Mama's Latte."

TO LEARN MORE

Call Sibylle Rundel at 628-4202 or visit www.mamaslatte.com

Contact reporter Patty Machelor at 806-7754 or pmachelor@azstarnet.com