WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling
WIC Peer Counselors are paraprofessional women, who have successfully breastfed despite barriers and challenges, and are enthusiastic about sharing their breastfeeding experience and knowledge with women of their culture and language. Peer counselors work closely with WIC and healthcare providers to promote breastfeeding in their communities.
The use of breastfeeding peer counselors adds valuable to WIC’s efforts to help women initiate and continue breastfeeding. WIC breastfeeding peer counselors provide a valuable service to their communities, addressing the barriers to breastfeeding by offering breastfeeding education, support, and role modeling. Peer counselors are familiar with the resources available to WIC clients, are familiar with the questions a breastfeeding mother may ask, and recognize when to refer mothers to other resources during critical periods when mothers may experience difficulty.
Currently seven of the 20 WIC Program Agencies in Iowa offer Peer Counselor services; Edgerton Women’s Health Center in Davenport, MATURA Action Corporation in Creston, Mid-Iowa Community Action in Marshalltown and Ames, Operation Threshold in Waterloo, Siouxland WIC in Sioux City, Johnson County Public Health in Iowa City, and Pottawattamie County WIC in Council Bluffs. There are 28 trained Peer Counselors in these seven agencies serving approximately 1,400 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Peer Counselors are effective in promoting and sustaining breastfeeding among WIC mothers.