Been there, done that; now you try.
Participation in a peer counseling program aimed at encouraging breast-feeding was associated with elevated rates of breastfeeding at 12 weeks among women who bore premature infants at an inner-city hospital in 2001-2004. (1) Specially trained local area women with breastfeeding experience who served as peer counselors visited with program participants within 72 hours after they delivered and kept in weekly contact with them for six weeks. Outcomes among these women were compared with those among a similar group, who received standard of care treatment, including access to breast-feeding classes and to professional staff who are trained in breast-feeding management. At 12 weeks, participants had nearly three times as high odds of breast-feeding (exclusively or with supplemental feeding) as controls (odds ratio, 2.8); the odds of breast-feeding at 12 weeks also were higher among black women with peer counselors than among other black mothers (3.6). Noting that several professional groups encourage prolonged breast-feeding, the researchers remark that this practice probably is especially important for premature infants, who face many health risks.
(1.) Merewood A et al., The effect of peer counselors on breastfeeding rates in the neonatal intensive care unit: results of a randomized controlled trial, Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2006, 160(7):681-685.
FYI is compiled and written by Dore Hollander; executive editor of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.