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Howard health department expanding breastfeeding assistance services, including video chat

The Howard County Health Department is expanding its breastfeeding assistance services to residents, where a mother can schedule a video call to receive breastfeeding assistance immediately.

Under the health department’s Women, Infants and Children Program, known as WIC, the new telelacation initiative “will increase accessibility and reduce barriers for WIC members to receive breastfeeding support,” according to a news release.

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“Our WIC Program proudly maintains a breastfeeding initiation rate above 80%,” Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County's health officer, said in a statement.

“In a continued effort to encourage more families to breastfeed, this program reduces barriers and makes it easier for moms to receive the support they need,” Rossman said.

If experiencing trouble with breastfeeding or needing a quick answer, using a smartphone or a computer, a mother can call and speak with a WIC breastfeeding support staff face to face.

This initiative allows a mother to receive support if they are unable to visit WIC locations by removing “barriers like transportation” that could prevent “a successful breastfeeding experience for mom and baby,” according to the news release.

Other WIC services include access to breastfeeding aids like breast pumps, in-person breastfeeding classes, breastfeeding counseling, and a “warm line” that mothers can call for breastfeeding help during and after office hours.

The health department states the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants should exclusively be fed breast milk for the first six months after birth.

Breastfeeding “has been found to protect the infant against a variety of diseases and conditions while also providing maternal health benefits,” according to the news release.

Any questions about the WIC Program can be directed to 410-313-7510 or hchealth.org.

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