Questioning the Locals: Jennifer Hafele

chatting with someone who has made babies her business

Tom Giffey |

Jennifer Hafele (submitted photo)
Jennifer Hafele (submitted photo)

Jennifer Hafele has made babies her business: This Eau Claire mom of three says motherhood changed her life and her career path. Now, she serves expectant and new families through professional and volunteer roles: She’s an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who provides care for breastfeeding families through her business, Mama Bear Lactation Care. “Home visits are my favorite,” she says, “plus I also love offering virtual options to reach my families!” She also co-teaches an interactive childbirth and postpartum education course called Confident Birth & Beyond, and volunteers as a local La Leche League leader.

What’s your name?

Jennifer Hafele, a.k.a. “Mama Bear”

How long have you lived in the Chippewa Valley?

24 years, longer than any other city in my life. As a kid, I lived in Wyoming and Iowa before moving to Wisconsin. I came to UW-Eau Claire as a freshman English major, loved the area, and never left.

What place in town considers you a “regular”?

Before COVID, The French Press. Their “Ugly Burger” is tasty, plus it’s a lovely spot to meet with a friend or just sit by myself and enjoy some recharge or work time. Since COVID? Walking our neighborhood with my dog, Charlie. I also spend a fair amount of time out at the Eau Claire Soccer Park!

What’s the most positive local development since you moved here?

Phoenix Park and the myriad downtown renovations.

What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve ever had in the Valley?

Attending a traditional Indian wedding ceremony and celebration!

If you had an unlimited budget, what’s one piece of public art you would create locally?

I enjoy the murals around town, especially the ones with messages of peace, unity, and inclusion. More of those, please!

If COVID-19 suddenly vanished, where is the first local place you would go?

As a social introvert, I will admit that I don’t mind being home when I need to recharge. However, I do find myself missing seeing plays and musical performances in person, so we would likely seek out something like that at the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

What is your favorite piece of local trivia?

We lived in our first house on the East Hill in Eau Claire for 12 years, and I am intrigued by the reports of a circus elephant having died here in the early 1900s and its final resting place being this neighborhood.

Death bed, one meal from a local restaurant, what would it be?

No time needed to think about this one: Shrimp and Chicken Dinner for Two from Tokyo! I’m excited about their plans for moving downtown.

Water Street or Downtown?

Downtown. My family particularly enjoys the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market, as well as the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

Ramone’s or Olson’s?

Ramone’s! My kids love this local place, and my personal order is Raspberry Lemon Italian Ice.

Jennfer’s Shoutouts:

Conversations in Color. This weekly livestream event, organized by Ed Hudgins and Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, keeps weekly dialogue open in the Chippewa Valley on various important issues of race and social justice.

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. Our library and staff are truly awesome, and I continue to be impressed with their services before and during the pandemic. The Story Builder campaign and upcoming expansion plan is beyond exciting.

Red Letter Grant. The mission of local Red Letter Grant (RLG) is to support and empower female entrepreneurs. As a spring 2019 recipient of RLG funding to help start my private lactation practice, I can report firsthand that they are fulfilling this mission and then some.