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Alabama WIC Program expands to unlimited access to infant feeding support services

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The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced "unlimited, 24/7 access to infant feeding support is now available to participants served by the Alabama Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program."

ADPH said in a press release that this is done exclusively for WIC participants through a partnership with Pacify Health through one streamlined app and at no cost to the mother.

The Alabama WIC Program will offer participants instantaneous video access to a nationwide network of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s), plus direct access to local WIC clinics across the state.

In a release, ADPH said providing this type of support has been proven to help more parents start and continue breastfeeding for longer, which improves health outcomes for mothers and babies. Access to IBCLC’s may also help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, one of the three leading causes of Alabama’s persistently high infant mortality rate.

Alabama WIC Program staff are enthusiastic about being able to connect participants to Pacify support services. Natalie Clements, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and IBCLC, is the District Nutrition Director for the Alabama WIC Program in Jefferson County.

She said, "Pacify services will be such a great resource for our WIC participants. I know that moms will be so thankful to have this level of support at their fingertips when breastfeeding complications arise!”

Lindsay Adler, RDN, IBCLC, is a nutritionist with the Alabama WIC Program. Recalling her own breastfeeding experience, she said, “As a mom of two, I know most breastfeeding problems arise outside of normal business hours, especially in the middle of the night! I am so happy to have a 24/7 support system in place for our WIC participants that does not require them to arrange transportation or take time off work.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, among infants born in 2019, slightly more than 71 percent of infants in Alabama were ever breastfed, compared with greater than 83 percent across the United States. Less than 40 percent of Alabama infants were exclusively breastfed at 3 months, and less than 38 percent were still breastfeeding at 6 months.

ADPH says many protective health benefits are conferred by breastfeeding. For infants, these include fewer middle ear infections, fewer cases of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially fatal gastrointestinal disorder in premature infants), and fewer infant deaths. Breastfeeding can also reduce women's risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Alabama WIC participants who would like to access virtual infant feeding support through Pacify can contact their local Alabama WIC clinic or call the Alabama WIC Program state office in Montgomery toll free at 888-WIC-HOPE (888-942-4673). All Alabama WIC participants are eligible.

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