West Virginia has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country – especially for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as WIC. But the Department of Health and Human Resources is working to change that, by providing WIC participants with an app that provides 24/7 breastfeeding support.
The app is called Pacify and it connects users to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to answer questions and concerns about breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for the first six months of life, babies get all of their nutrition exclusively from breastmilk. When babies begin eating solid foods, normally at six months, mothers are recommended to keep breastfeeding, at least until their baby is a year old. But West Virginia’s breastfeeding rates are well below the national average.
Only about 69 percent of women ever breastfeed compared to a national average of 83 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The DHHR said the hope is that if moms have more support, they will have an easier time with it and breastfeed for longer.
West Virginia WIC, which serves 75 percent of the babies born in the state, is the fifth WIC program in the nation to launch the app.
The app is free for all current, pregnant, and breastfeeding mothers in the WIC program. In a press release, the DHHR said Women can sign up by visiting their local WIC clinic. It is also available by subscription for moms not in WIC via the app store.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.