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Telemed J E Health. 2018 Sep 13. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2018.0113. [Epub ahead of print]

Telelactation Via Mobile App: Perspectives of Rural Mothers, Their Care Providers, and Lactation Consultants.

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1 Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2 RAND Corporation , Arlington, Virginia.
3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine , Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Rural-urban disparities exist in breastfeeding rates and availability of lactation support. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) telelactation that uses two-way video through personal devices has the potential to increase access to international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) in rural settings that lack them. This study describes the feasibility and acceptability of DTC telelactation for rural mothers.


We conducted semi-structured interviews among various stakeholders involved in a study exploring the impact of telelactation through mobile phone app in rural Pennsylvania. Interviewees included mother participants assigned to receive telelactation (n = 17), IBCLCs employed by the telelactation vendor (n = 7), and nurses (n = 2) and physicians (n = 1) caring for mother participants at the recruitment hospital. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data.


Interviewees reported that telelactation was convenient and efficient, provided a needed service in rural areas lacking breastfeeding support services, and increased maternal breastfeeding confidence. Telelactation was noted to have several advantages over in-person and telephone-based support. Barriers to use included maternal reluctance to conduct video calls with an unknown provider, preference for community-based breastfeeding resources, and technical issues including limited WiFi in rural areas.


Among rural women who experience inequitable access to qualified breastfeeding support resources, DTC telelactation appears to be an acceptable delivery model for lactation assistance.


behavioral health; e-health; pediatrics; technology; telemedicine


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