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Mercy Medical Center in Springfield is offering virtual breastfeeding support for new mothers

 An infant sleeping.
Marko Milivojevic
Creative Commons / Pixnio
An infant sleeping.

Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, has begun offering virtual breastfeeding support for new mothers.

Mercy already offers in-person lactation consulting for women who give birth at the hospital. Now those women can also get online education and help before and after they deliver.

The service is being provided by a company called Nest Collaborative. CEO Judith Nowlin said the virtual option offers some key advantages.

"No travel is required," she said. "You don't have to pack yourself and your baby up and get yourself back into the hospital setting. And at Nest, we offer lactation consultants who speak eight different languages."

Nowlin said with the recent national shortages of baby formula, some mothers who stopped breastfeeding have been calling to see if it's possible to start again.

Trinity Health Of New England, which oversees Mercy, is also making the online option available at two other hospitals in Hartford and Waterbury, Connecticut.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.