Moms in rural Utah get breastfeeding support for their babies

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FILLMORE — For mom Chelsea Breur, breastfeeding is a must. She had great success with her first two children.

"They breastfed super easy. And I loved it," she beamed.

But when little Henry came into the family 18 months ago, things were different. At first, Breur assumed the best about feeding him the way her first two children were fed.

"I'm sure we'll figure this out. As time went on though, we weren't figuring it out. And I started to get worried," she said.

Breur and her family live in Millard County. The nearest lactation specialist in the Intermountain Health system is a two-hour drive away in Utah County.

"So, all of that brought me so much anxiety," she adds. "And with three kids, driving two hours felt super hard."

Henry's inability to latch meant that she needed solutions close to home.

Fortunately for the Breur family, the Fillmore Community Hospital in recent years started prioritizing telehealth consultations with expectant moms and mothers with newborns.

Shelby Bullock, BSN, is the women and newborn manager who oversees the program in Fillmore.

"We call, set up an appointment with Orem Community Hospital," Bullock says. "And the specialist just comes on the screen."

Breur said the consultations have been a lifesaver. "It's really easy to think that because a child can't breastfeed it's your fault. I felt way more depressed … than with my other two kids."

Bullock sees positive outcomes for both baby and mom.

"It helps form a connection with the baby. It gives mom a sense of being needed, and a sense of satisfaction with a successful breastfeeding journey," she said.

"Before we were using telehealth lactation consultations, our breastfeeding rate for moms who breastfeed in the hospital was just 26%. About two years and many telehealth consultations later, the breastfeeding rate is now 88%. When you serve a small number of patients, every patient makes a big difference in our success rate," Bullock said.

And for Breur, breastfeeding improved exponentially once she connected with the telehealth consultation services right from her home. "It felt almost as good as you can have, like having a lactation consultant come right to your house. Being able to just do the telehealth at home really lowered all the pressure."

In Utah, there are eight rural Intermountain hospital labor and delivery departments that are accessing lactation consultations through telehealth during patient hospital stays.

Locations include Bear River Valley in Tremonton, Delta Community, Fillmore Community, Garfield Memorial in Panguitch, Heber Valley, Park City, San Pete Valley in Mt. Pleasant, and Sevier Valley in Richfield.

More Resources

Every Intermountain hospital in Utah that has a labor and delivery department offers some kind of lactation consultation for patients in the hospital. Outpatient lactation services vary by location. has a virtual breastfeeding class available for expectant parents. It's a one-session, two-hour class and is offered often. The cost is $15.

For a free complete guide to breastfeeding booklet and a list of local outpatient lactation consultant services, contact a nearby Intermountain hospital or click here.

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