The Effect of a Peer Counseling Program on Breastfeeding Initiation and Longevity in a Low-income Rural Population
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Breastfeeding rates among low-income women in the east-south-central United States are among the lowest in the country. This study examined the effect of a peer counseling program on breastfeeding initiation and duration in a low-income rural population in West Tennessee. A postpartum survey and chart review were conducted with WIC clients at nine health departments. Response rate was 99% (291/293). Breastfeeding initiation and duration at 6 weeks were increased in the peer counselor group (n = 156) compared with women in the no-peer counselor group (n = 135) (53% vs. 33%, p < 0.001, and 26% vs. 13%, p = 0.006, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that women in the peer counselor group were significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding (OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.23-4.67) and to be breastfeeding at 6 weeks (OR = 2.78, 95% CI = 2.08-9.51), than those in the no-peer counselor group.
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