"They've walked in my shoes": mothers of very low birth weight infants and their experiences with breastfeeding peer counselors in the neonatal intensive care unit

J Hum Lact. 2011 Feb;27(1):14-24. doi: 10.1177/0890334410390046. Epub 2010 Dec 20.


The effectiveness of the breastfeeding peer counselor role is thought to be embedded in the relationship between new and experienced mothers. In this study, new mothers of very low birth weight infants emphasized that one of the most important aspects of their relationship with the breastfeeding peer counselors is the peer or shared experience of how difficult it can be to provide milk and breastfeed while coping with the emotional stress of having an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit. This study provides evidence for the promotion and facilitation of lactation for mothers of neonatal intensive care unit infants through the use of breastfeeding peer counselors who are peers by virtue of the shared experience of providing milk for an infant hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Peer Group*
  • Young Adult