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J Public Health Med. 2000 Jun;22(2):138-45.

Evaluation of a community-based intervention to increase breastfeeding prevalence.

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  • 1Department of Child Health, University of Glasgow, Yorkhill Hospital.



The aim of the study was to determine whether peer counselling in the antenatal and post-natal period would increase the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding among low-income women in Glasgow.


The study was designed as a quasi-experimental evaluation of a community-based breastfeeding promotion programme. The intervention comprised peer counselling of pregnant women, support of breastfeeding mothers and local awareness-raising activities. The study subjects were all women attending the antenatal booking clinic resident in either the intervention or control area. Data were collected by means of four self-completion questionnaires, two administered antenatally and two post-natally. The proportions intending to breastfeed or breastfeeding in the intervention and control groups were compared at each assessment and over time.


Of the 995 women enrolled in the study, data were available for analysis on 919 (92 per cent) to 6 weeks postnatally. At booking, 18 per cent of the intervention group and 21 per cent of the control group stated an intention to breastfeed. At delivery, the proportions initiating breastfeeding were 23 per cent of the intervention subjects and 20 per cent of the controls, and by 6 weeks post-natally, the proportion providing any breast milk had declined to 10 per cent of the intervention group and 8 per cent of the control group. Using multivariate analysis to adjust for factors (such as socio-economic status) known to influence breastfeeding, the breastfeeding prevalence was significantly higher in the intervention group relative to the controls at delivery [odds ratio (OR) 2.0; 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 1.2-3.1, p = 0.006]. By 6 weeks post-natally the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant (OR 1.8; 95 per cent CI 1.0-3.4, p=0.07).


As the impact of the intervention was not sustained even for the modest duration of 6 weeks postnatally, it would be premature to justify widespread use of peer support programmes to increase the prevalence of breastfeeding in socially disadvantaged communities.

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