From left to right Southwest Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition members Kris Wood, Maternal Health Nurse at FAMILY, Inc. Katie Bonnet, Kay Eng, Kris Foley, and Jennifer Hensley gather around breast pumps purchased through a grant provided for the Southwest Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition.

Breastfeeding pumps can cost from $100 to $150 for new mothers.

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs Healthy Community Fund grant provided $5,000 to the Southwest Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition, which went toward the purchase of 50 pumps for area mothers who can’t afford one when needed.

Half of the Spectra S2 pumps were gathered Thursday during the Southwest Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition meeting.

“Sadly, we’re one of the few states that don’t have Medicaid coverage for pumps,” said Kris Wood, Pottawattamie County WIC coordinator. “When we have those moms who have a baby — especially when they have a baby in the NICU or they’re having a hard time getting the baby to feed correctly — they need that pump right away.”

The pumps were purchased for such mothers in the NICU or with other barriers to breastfeeding, according to the release.

“It’s been an issue for a long time, but we’re just kind of getting to the point where we can fill some of those gaps in service,” said Wood, “Hopefully it helps a lot.”

The breastfeeding pumps can be accessed via local hospitals through lactation consultants and other breastfeeding professionals, WIC Programs, Family Inc., and the Visiting Nurse Association.

“The grant is to provide for moms who fall through the cracks because they don’t have insurance to cover the cost or they don’t qualify,” said Katie Bonnet, Family Inc., and WIC representative. “Our idea is we would be able to give them a pump to help them with their breastfeeding goals.”

Any pregnant woman on Medicaid is automatically income eligible for the WIC Program and can reach the local WIC Program by calling 712-323-5886.

It is recommended to call early in the pregnancy to get enrolled.

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