A full tummy is a happy tummy. Expect the Birthways team at Mary Greeley Medical Center to respect the way you choose to nourish and nurture your child. If you decide to breastfeed, we offer resources and education to make the experience positive for you and your baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
You and your baby both benefit when you breastfeed. We recommend breastmilk over formula because breastfeeding:
- Provides your baby with more nutrients than infant formula. Breastmilk is easier to digest and contains everything your baby needs to grow well and stay healthy
- Strengthens your baby's immune system, preventing infections
- Lowers your baby's risk of allergies, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and chronic (long-term) diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity
- Promotes parent-baby bonding
- Helps you recover faster from pregnancy and birth
- Burns calories and can help you lose weight gained during pregnancy
- Lowers your risk of postpartum depression, diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer, and osteoporosis (weakened bones)
- Costs less over time than buying formula
Central Iowa's Baby-Friendly Hospital
Benefit from expertise that's earned us designation as a Baby-Friendly® hospital from Baby-Friendly USA. Baby-Friendly USA is the nation's authority on which hospitals and birth centers make excellent breastfeeding care as accessible as possible. Mary Greeley is the only hospital in central Iowa to earn this honor, which uses global evaluation standards set by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund.
Certified Breastfeeding Specialists
If you're considering breastfeeding, partner with our certified lactation consultants, registered nurses (RNs) who offer education and tips and advocate for parents and babies. With our guidance, more people start and continue breastfeeding than at other Iowa hospitals.
What to Expect
During your stay at Birthways, we'll spend one-on-one time with you, offering:
- Education backed by research on how to breastfeed successfully
- Help positioning your baby for feedings and getting your baby to latch on to your breast
- Information on how often to feed your baby
- Support and encouragement if you feel frustrated, which is common
- Advice on how to care for your breasts and ease any discomfort
Free Follow-Up Care
After you leave the hospital, you’re welcome to come back a few days later to share how things are going. Reach out to our team or contact the National Breastfeeding Hotline if you have questions or need to talk.
We recommend breastfeeding exclusively (breastmilk only) until your baby starts eating table foods at 6 months. After that, continue to breastfeed for a year or longer to give your baby the most benefits.
Classes & Support Groups
Take part in our:
- Breastfeeding class. Get the latest information about what to expect and how to prepare for the first few days of breastfeeding your baby.
- Breastfeeding Support Group. Share and learn in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. The monthly group is facilitated by a breastfeeding specialist who provides ongoing education. You'll have the opportunity to weigh your baby, hear tips from other parents, and make new friends.
- Facebook Breastfeeding Support Group. Join an active, welcoming online community of breastfeeding parents who enjoy connecting online, sharing stories, and learning from one another.
Nursing Supplies & Equipment
Most insurance plans cover all or part of the cost of the items you need to breastfeed. Visit Mary Greeley Home Medical Equipment at 1114 Duff Ave. in Ames to choose from a variety of:
- Breast pumps and pump parts
- Breastfeeding pillows and pads
- Nursing covers and bras
- Other breastfeeding aids
Donor Milk Program
Feel peace of mind knowing we can provide safe, nourishing breastmilk from the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. Your baby may need donated breast milk if:
- Your baby is adopted
- Your baby is born early (preterm or premature)
- Your baby has low blood sugar
- You gave birth to multiple babies (twins, triplets, etc.)
- You're sick and not able to breastfeed your baby right away
Volunteers provide the milk, which is carefully screened. Donated milk is free of charge thanks to support from the Mary Greeley Foundation. At Birthways, we'll always ask for your permission before giving your baby donated milk.
Other Breastfeeding Resources
Explore other websites recommended by our lactation experts:
- Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition
- Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Stanford School of Medicine breastfeeding videos