'BreastTime' hopes to provide support for breastfeeding moms

'BreastTime' hopes to provide support for breastfeeding moms

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - New mom Rebecca Helveston knew she wanted to breastfeed her baby, but when her daughter was born, she realized the process can be more challenging than it seems.

"I kind of went in blind saying, 'Of course I'm going to breastfeed. It's going to be so easy; my baby is going to come out knowing exactly what to do,'" said Helveston. "It's really hard. It's a commitment."

While Helveston worked with a lactation specialist in the hospital, she still had questions after she was discharged to go home.

Registered nurse and certified lactation specialist Cynthia Evans said many women stop breastfeeding when they get home from the hospital. She said moms often lose confidence or become overwhelmed by the challenges of breastfeeding.  Some of the most common challenges include low milk supply, latching, poor milk transfer, and breast pain.

"It does take a lot of commitment and a lot of hard work. It's so worth it at the end, but I think they're really afraid of failing and admitting that," said Evans.

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To help continue supporting breastfeeding mothers after they leave the hospital, Woman's Hospital has turned to telemedicine. The hospital launched a new program called BreastTime. It's a secure, private video calling system that allows moms to talk with a lactation specialist at Woman's from the comfort of home.

"We are trying to improve our breastfeeding rates and especially the exclusivity of it. This will hopefully encourage the moms who don't have the support or the confidence to keep on breastfeeding," said Woman's quality manager Laurie Hancock.

The program is open to any mom in Louisiana who needs help breastfeeding. It costs $40 per consultation, which can last up to one hour.  For now, consults can be scheduled on Wednesdays and Fridays around the baby's feeding time. The calls can take place over a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The cost is not covered by insurance.

Helveston said she scheduled two consultations.

"I was able to log on and get those questions answered and more importantly get the reassurance that you're doing great, the baby is doing what she's supposed to do and you're on the road to success," said Helveston.

Benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, said Evans, and include a lower risk of SIDS, childhood obesity, and postpartum depression.

For more on BreastTime, click here: womans.org/breasttime.

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