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J Hum Lact. 2007 Aug;23(3):262-8.

A qualitative evaluation of a breastfeeding peer counselor program.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


The Breastfeeding Initiative program is a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Community Health (Women, Infants, and Children Division) and Michigan State University Extension. It aims to increase breastfeeding rates among low-income women through the use of peer counselors. The study's purpose was to identify the program's strengths, operation procedures, and improvement areas from participants' and peer counselors' perspectives. Six focus groups were conducted: 3 of peer counselors and 3 of program participants. Findings revealed that peer counselors and participants were satisfied with the quality of services due to emotional and practical assistance and breast pumps provided by peer counselors. Peer counselors' job satisfaction was explained positively by the intrinsic rewards of helping others and negatively by perceived inadequate resources and recognition. Operating procedures varied greatly. Possible improvements include expanding services, providing peer counselors with additional support, and standardizing peer counselor operating procedures. The peer counselor model can effectively support low-income breastfeeding women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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