By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the use of telemedicine. Now, new moms in this era of social distancing are getting much-needed help using technology.

Being a new mom is daunting for many and perhaps even more so now in the era of sheltering at home.

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Christine Strickland says she feels very fortunate to have delivered her son — just six-and-a-half-weeks-old and born on Valentine’s Day — before the citywide lockdown went in place.

“We got kind of lucky before things got kind of crazy,” she said.

But with lactation clinics effectively closed throughout Philadelphia, Strickland turned to a new program offered by the Department of Health.

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“It was extremely easy to use. I was able to do it from yoga pants from my living room,” she said.

It’s a new app called Pacify.

The Philadelphia Department of Health secured a contract making the tele-lactation app accessible to all city residents immediately through at least July 1.

Another positive is that the app is completely free.

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“Pacify is available 24/7,” Pacify Chief Clinical Officer Melanie Silverman said. 

She says the goal is to ease any questions or concerns new parents may be experiencing.

“They can stay on as long as they want and ask anything related to the kinds of questions they can answer,” Silverman added.

The goal is to connect moms with a lactation expert within 30 seconds.

“When a mother or a father has a question about breastfeeding, it’s an emergency. If they don’t get that help they need immediately, they may lose their milk supply. Literally, in the last couple of weeks, clinics are closing. People can’t come in to see their doctors,” Silverman said. “We’re really able to help them the minute they need it and make sure breastfeeding continues.”


“I think this is our first lesson in parenting that things aren’t going to go the way we plan them to,” Strickland said. “I think this app that the city has made available is a great way to get that support and help.

Silverman says she has also been able to hire lactation experts who have been laid off or furloughed because of the crisis.

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