Spectrum Health recognizes breastfeeding as the healthiest form of nutrition for babies. We know every woman has a different experience with breastfeeding, so to help you get the best results, we provide the expertise, support and education you need to feel comfortable and confident feeding your baby. You can be assured that our staff has knowledge of the most current research and breastfeeding practices that will help you and your baby have the best start to your breastfeeding relationship.
Breastfeeding Benefits Babies and Mothers
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages breastfeeding as the optimal form of nutrition for infants. Breast milk can help protect your baby against disease, promote healthy growth and development, and lower the chance of asthma, allergies, diabetes and dental problems.
Breastfeeding has benefits for the mother, as well. Women who breastfeed have less risk of developing osteoporosis and premenopausal breast cancer than women who have not lactated. Breastfeeding also helps many women shed pregnancy weight faster, and it saves time and money by decreasing the need for store-bought formula. For many women, breastfeeding also can be a wonderful bonding experience with their babies.
Butterworth Hospital has been designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital by the World Health Organization. Among other things, the Baby Friendly philosophy encourages allowing as much time as possible for mothers and baby to bond after birth. We allow you and your baby to stay together and receive care in the same room, giving you time to get to know your baby’s feeding preferences while still having the support of our nurses and lactation consultants.
While there are many good reasons to breastfeed, choosing how to feed your baby is a personal choice. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, Spectrum Health offers classes and support before and after your baby arrives to help you make the best decision and provide the best care for your infant.
- Before your baby arrives, attend our breastfeeding classes, led by a certified lactation counselor or consultant. Topics include latch-on and positioning techniques, assessing your baby's eating and practical tips to prepare you for successful breastfeeding.
- After your baby is born, your nurse will present a Breastfeeding Success Plan. Our postpartum nurses and nursing assistants have special training to provide breastfeeding support. If needed, you can request additional support from a lactation consultant (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC). A lactation consultant will visit every mom who intends to breastfeed, providing support and education.
- After your hospital stay, you are welcome to call the Spectrum Health Lactation Consultant Warm Line at 616.391.9437 and leave a message if you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding or providing milk for your baby. A lactation consultant or counselor will call you back as soon as possible.
- Our outpatient lactation services offer personalized breastfeeding assistance after you leave the hospital. Call 616.391.9437 to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant (IBCLC). Many insurance plans pay for lactation counseling; check with your insurance company.
- We offer a range of breast pumps and accessories for rent or purchase so that you can have everything you need to successfully feed your newborn. Items include single and double electric breast pumps, hospital-grade rental breast pumps and personal use equipment. Items can be purchased during your hospital stay or after you go home. For more information, call 616.391.9437.
Breastfeeding Information & Support Group
The Spectrum Health Breastfeeding Information and Support Group gives breastfeeding mothers a chance to share questions and concerns, and work with certified lactation counselors and consultants. You also can contact your health care provider or your baby's health care provider for help and support. Call 616.391.5000 for more information about support group meetings.