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Keywords:

  • breastfeeding;
  • first time mothers;
  • infant health;
  • initiation;
  • peer counselors;
  • WIC

Abstract

Objective

This study was designed to determine whether singleton women who had not previously breastfed and who had a women, infant and children (WIC) peer counselor were more likely to initiate breastfeeding than women not exposed to the WIC peer counselor.

Design and Sample

The retrospective cross-sectional study used data from the 2009 Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) WIC Infant Feeding Practices Survey (IFPS) administered through 73 local WIC agencies. Of the 5,427 responses to the 2009 Texas DSHS WIC IFP Survey, 56.6% (N = 3,070) were included in this study.

Measures

The Texas DSHS WIC IFPS, a 55-item survey with multiple-choice and two open-ended questions, was used to evaluate breastfeeding beliefs, attitudes, and practices among women receiving WIC services.

Results

Women who had peer counselor contact during pregnancy, in the hospital, and after delivery were more likely to initiate breastfeeding than women without such contacts, OR = 1.36, 2.06, 1.85, respectively.

Conclusion

Women's decision to initiate breastfeeding is significantly associated with WIC peer counselor contacts. Continued WIC peer counselor program services may increase breastfeeding initiation rates among WIC participants.