Lactation Services

Baby-Friendly & Lactation Services

In January 2016, Mary Greeley Medical Center was designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. Massachusetts-based Baby-Friendly USA is the nation’s authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Mary Greeley is the second and largest hospital in Iowa to earn this prestigious designation.

We always support the mother’s choice when it comes to the manner in which they want to provide nourishment to their newborn. We are breastfeeding fans. Human milk contains at least one hundred ingredients not found in any artificial infant milk. Also, research indicates that breastfeeding your baby can decrease their chances of becoming overweight by 30 percent. Breastfeeding can also:

  • Reduce your baby’s risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma
  • Provide better resistance to infections
  • Offer protection from SIDS
  • Allow for easier digestion and fewer allergies
  • Help you lose weight faster
  • Protect you from ovarian and breast cancer
  • Decrease your risk of osteoporosis

The Baby-Friendly process, which is endorsed by major health organizations and backed by extensive research, requires hospitals to complete Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, most of which involve educating and assisting mothers of newborns on the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. The steps also encourage that mothers and infants “room-in,” which means they remain together 24 hours a day during their hospital stay. They also discourage the use of formula, unless medically necessary, and pacifiers until breastfeeding is established.

Mary Greeley has had a lactation program in place for several years. As part of Baby-Friendly, the hospital provides a free follow up visit with lactation services for all breastfeeding moms and infants. 

Here to help

Here at Birthways, we know those things, but we also know that breastfeeding can sometimes be downright frustrating. So we don’t just throw statistics and information at you, and then send you on your way. We take the time to sit down with you and walk you through how to nourish your baby, because we want both of you to be happy.

We spend time with you during your hospital stay to make sure everyone is getting the hang of things. We have you come back to the hospital a few days after being discharged so that we can see how things are going. We also recommend the National Breastfeeding Hotline (800-994-9662) Monday-Friday from 8 am - 5 pm in case a question comes up that you don’t have the answer to.

Let the numbers talk

We feel that mothers don’t always get the breastfeeding support they need, so they get discouraged, and either supplement with formula or quit breastfeeding altogether. The support we offer here works and our most recent statistics speak for themselves.

In the state of Iowa in 2011, the percentage of babies that had been fed only breast milk for the first 3 months was a mere 37.2%. However, when you look at babies born on Birthways, that number jumps up to an astounding 81%. At 6 months, only 17% of babies in the state of Iowa are still being breastfed, compared to nearly half of all Birthways-born babies.

Baby Friendly

Patient Story

A focus on breastfeeding is changing newborn care at Mary Greeley.
Read Baby Alden's story.

Purchasing supplies

Birthways offers a variety of breast pumps, pump parts, nursing pillows, and other breastfeeding aids for sale through Mary Greeley Medical Center Home Medical Equipment, which is located at 1114 Duff Avenue in Ames -- just across Duff from the medical center. Our showroom is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am-5:00 pm. Keep in mind that often times your insurance will cover, or at least partially cover, things necessary for breastfeeding. So it may be more cost effective to get those things through your healthcare provider, rather than a department store.

Donor Milk Program

In support of the Baby-Friendly program, Mary Greeley recently began a donor breast milk program. Donor milk, obtained from the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, is available in Birthways for babies that might need it. A mother’s own milk is used whenever possible to feed her baby, but in certain situations, the baby needs a supplement. These situations could include a baby with a low blood sugar, a premature baby, a baby who is being adopted, a multiple birth, or a very sick mother who is not able to provide her own milk right away. 

Milk is donated to the milk bank only by very carefully screened volunteer donors. Donor milk is only used with the permission of parents.

Breastfeeding Support Group

Learn more about our
Breastfeeding Support Group
where you can connect with
other breastfeeding moms!

Extra Support

Bring your baby to our Breastfeeding Support Group to share and learn in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. The group meets once a month and is facilitated by a breastfeeding specialist. You will have the opportunity to weigh your baby, hear what is working for other mothers, receive information and support, and make connections.

You can also join our Facebook Breastfeeding Support Group! It's another great place to share stories, get support and connect with other breastfeeding moms.

Get started right

We know that sometimes there are factors that won’t allow a mother to breastfeed, but if it’s as important to you as it is to us, come visit Birthways and sign up for a breastfeeding class. We’ve also answered some of the most commonly asked breastfeeding questions below.

How often do I need to feed my baby?
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Can I take medicine while breastfeeding?
How do I breastfeed once I go back to work?
Should I be eating certain things if I’m breastfeeding?
Is it okay to smoke or drink while breastfeeding?

Additional Resources

Here are a few more breastfeeding websites we think you may find helpful.

Stanford School of Medicine Breastfeeding Videos
Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition
Infant Risk Center-Texas Tech University
Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding Support Group

Share and learn with breastfeeding moms in a friendly, supportive atmosphere:

Breastfeeding Support Group

Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook

National Breastfeeding Hotline: 800-994-9662