Effect of peer counselors on breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration among low-income urban women

J Hum Lact. 1994 Mar;10(1):11-5. doi: 10.1177/089033449401000121.


This study examined the effect of support from trained peer counselors on breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity among low-income urban women. Training of counselors, under the supervision of a registered nurse certified in lactation, adapted education techniques from Paulo Freire to provide information about lactation management and other health care issues. The study compared infant feeding practices of women who planned to breastfeed and received support from counselors (counselor group, N = 59) to women who requested counselors but, owing to inadequate numbers of trained counselors, did not have a counselor (No-counselor group, N = 43). Women in the counselor group had significantly greater (p < .05) breastfeeding initiation (93 percent vs. 70 percent), exclusivity (77 percent vs. 40 percent), and duration (mean of 15 weeks vs. mean of 8 weeks) than women in the no-counselor group. The findings suggest that peer counselors, well-trained, and with on-going supervision, can have a positive effect on breastfeeding practices among low-income urban women who intend to breastfeed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Counseling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Peer Group*
  • Poverty
  • Self-Help Groups / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Health