Nest Collaborative, the creator of a virtual lactation platform, today announced that it has partnered with Women’s Health Connecticut (WHC), one of the nation’s largest single-specialty OB-GYN (obstetric/gynecology) networks, to provide expectant mothers with no cost prenatal consultations and personalized education, with the goal of improving breastfeeding outcomes.

Through the program and partnership, expectant mothers seen by WHC’s providers will be referred to Nest for an insurance-covered prenatal session near the 32nd week of their pregnancies. Nest will pair mothers with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in its network, all of whom have been trained in a specific curriculum for prenatal and postnatal lactation support. Because of the virtual nature of Nest’s offering, classes will be available to all of WHC’s obstetric patients, which equates to an estimated 12,000 deliveries per year.

“The best way to help a new breastfeeding mom is to offer the right education and information to get off to a great start,” said Dr. Matthew Saidel, Chief Medical Officer for Women’s Health Connecticut. “By working with Nest, we are able to remove some key obstacles: the service is covered by insurance with no cost to mom, it’s delivered in the comfort of home, and the mom’s obstetrical care team is in the loop and available for support at all times.”

The program will provide expectant mothers with information that will enable them to plan for a successful breastfeeding journey before the baby arrives and will connect them with an IBCLC who can provide on-demand help and education after the birth. Prenatal consultations provided by Nest are typically up to one hour in length. While breastfeeding is a topic covered briefly in typical pre-birth classes moms receive, Nest consultations allow more time to get to know an expectant mother and personalize content to her needs, including what to expect in the hospital, how milk supply will change in the first few days, and how to protect her breasts from infection. The connection to an IBCLC will also help the mother achieve her breastfeeding goals and reap the full benefits, for both herself and her baby, of exclusively feeding her newborn breast milk through the 6-month period, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG.)

New approaches to breastfeeding support are needed. In the United States, 85% of new mothers attempt to breastfeed, but fewer than 30% make it through the recommended six-month period. As a result, six-month breastfeeding rates are lower in the U.S. than any other industrialized country. In recognition of the influence that education and help provided by IBCLCs has in improving outcomes, the Affordable Care Act now deems breastfeeding support an essential service to be offered to women with no out-of-pocket costs.

“A doctor’s referral can make all the difference in mom’s breastfeeding outcomes,” said Amanda Gorman, CEO and Founder of Nest Collaborative. “Primary research done by Nest among pregnant moms produced the clear finding that if moms are told by their doctors that they should take a breastfeeding class before the baby is born, they’ll do it. With this ambitious program with WHUSA, we get the opportunity to see impact on a large scale.”

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