Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children)
Bureau of Family Nutrition
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description

Target

Income-eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants.

Purpose

To improve breastfeeding support, initiation and duration rates, to reduce infant mortality, to improve cognitive abilities and overall long term health benefits of infants and children, and to reduce the incidence of obesity in childhood and later life.

Services

The Peer Counselor Program provides specialized breastfeeding education, encouragement and support to pregnant and breastfeeding women and their infants. Peer Counselors do home visits, telephone consultations, hospital visits, and lead support groups. Peer Counselors also assist participants with breast pump use and provide outreach to hospitals and physicians on breastfeeding services.

Delivery Method

Local WIC agencies provide Peer Counselor services to eligible participants at forty sites throughout Illinois. WIC staff will refer clients to the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for ongoing breastfeeding support and education.

Program Data

SFY06 SFY07 SFY08 SFY09
Program Expenditures (Numbers in 000's) $503,751.3* $514,192.4* $512,100.0* $603,000.0
Number of Grantees 23 35 35 40
Caseload Served** 28,835 32,616 40,251 42,589

 *Reflects funding on a Federal Fiscal Year October 1-September 30

 **WIC Peer Counselor Summary Annual Report for SFY06-FY08; WICP3101-SFY05

Program Effectiveness

  • Peer Counselors improve breastfeeding initiation rates: the breastfeeding initiation rate for women receiving Peer Counselor services was 82.4% compared to 60.0% for women without Peer Counselor services. (WIC Peer Counselor Summary Annual FY09)
  • Peer Counselors improve breastfeeding duration rates: The one-month breastfeeding duration rate for women receiving Peer Counselor services was 74.6% compared to 66.3% for women without Peer Counselor services. (WIC Peer Counselor Summary Annual FY09)