To explore the implementation of a breastfeeding (BF) peer counselor (BFPC) program with Alaska Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The study used focus groups, surveys, and interviews, with transcripts analyzed in Atlas.ti and survey data summarized in Microsoft Excel.
Respondents included 33 interviewed WIC staff and BFPCs, 25 clients in focus groups, and 129 surveyed clients. Common themes included BFPCs' innovative use of texting and online support groups assisting WIC clients' BF success. The BFPCs' knowledge, accessibility, and relatability were identified as positive program elements. Challenges included BFPCs' limited hours, funding, and in-person contact with clients, and confusion about the BFPCs' role. The BFPCs and staff also described unique documentation strategies, BF training, and perceived supports and barriers to WIC clients' BF.
The implementation of a BFPC program in Alaska WIC revealed novel documentation and outreach strategies, including texting and online support groups. Findings may be translatable to other peer counseling programs.