Impact of education and training on type of care provided by Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Sullivan, Elizabeth Marie
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Background: Studies using breastfeeding peer counselors (BFPCs) have repeatedly shown positive impact on breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration, particularly among low-income mothers, although other studies have not. Methods: This cross-sectional study was designed to ascertain the influence of educational attainment and duration of initial training on support and proficiency of BFPCs in communities across the US. Invitations to participate in this online survey were e-mailed to program coordinators of community health organizations who encouraged their BFPCs to participate. A total of 847 BFPCs who participated in the survey with complete data were included in the final data analysis. Results: Overall, education was not a significant predictor of support skills used during counseling sessions, but initial training duration did have a positive association with the use of many breastfeeding support skills. Conclusion: Further research is needed to examine the content and consistency of training curricula in BFPC programs across the US.