App offers free help for new moms on breastfeeding issues

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For new parents, the coronavirus outbreak is an especially uncertain time.

Not only are hospitals taking special precautions for delivery, some necessary post-delivery services aren't easy to get now.

But there's free help for new moms in Philadelphia on one issue: breastfeeding.

It takes advantage of video conferencing, which is being used in so many ways now.

Philadelphia had planned to begin a pilot in June with the telehealth app Pacify for breastfeeding support.

But COVID-19 sped up those plans.

And the Pacify app was just what Christine Strickland needed.

Ever since her son Eli arrived on Valentine's Day, breastfeeding was challenging.

He was slightly premature, which can affect a baby's breastfeeding ability.

Strickland had worked out most issues, but when one popped up last week, she used Pacify to connect with a lactation consultant from the Philadelphia Health Department.

"I was able to do it in yoga pants from my own living room, and the app loaded. I just entered, answered a few questions, and I had a lactation consultant within a couple of minutes. So really, really easy, and intuitive," Christine told Action News.

The city's program normally helps 500 to 600 women a year in the clinic or at home.

Breastfeeding helps protect babies against a variety of diseases and conditions.

And it helps mom's health, too.

Sorting out problems won't wait till the shutdown is over.

"If problems aren't addressed early on, then it's possible the mother may not be able to breastfeed the baby," says Dr. Stacey Kallem, of the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health in the Philadelphia Health Department.

Through the app, help is available 24/7.

Philadelphia consultants are on duty during the daytime, and a national network takes over at night.

For more information on Pacify, CLICK HERE.
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