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WIC Breastfeeding Model Components for Peer Counseling

Support from State and Local Management Includes:

Appropriate definition of a peer counselor

  • Paraprofessional*
  • Recruited and hired from WIC’s target population, and, to the extent possible, representing the same racial/ethnic background as the mothers they support
  • Available to WIC clients outside usual clinic hours and outside the WIC clinic environment
  • Previous experience with breastfeeding, having breastfed at least one baby

Designated breastfeeding peer counseling program managers and/or coordinators at State and/or local level

Defined scope of practice for peer counselors limited to supporting normal breastfeeding

Written job descriptions for peer counselors

Compensation and reimbursement of peer counselors

Training of WIC State/local peer counseling management, supervisory, and clinic staff using FNS- developed training curricula

Establishment of standardized breastfeeding peer counseling program policies and procedures at the State and local level as part of agency nutrition education plan

Adequate supervision and monitoring of peer counselors

Establishment of community partnerships to enhance the effectiveness of a WIC peer counseling program

Support of Peer Counselors Includes:

Training and continuing education of peer counselors using FNS -developed training curricula

Timely access to a WIC Designated Breastfeeding Expert for assistance with problems outside of peer counselor scope of practice

Regular, systematic contact with supervisor

Participation in clinic staff meetings as part of the WIC team

Opportunities for continuing education and to meet regularly with other peer counselors

*Those without extended professional training in health, nutrition, or the clinical management of breastfeeding who are selected from the group to be served and are trained and given ongoing supervision to provide a basic service or function. Paraprofessionals provide specific tasks within a defined scope of practice. They assist professionals, but are not licensed or credentialed as healthcare, nutrition, or lactation consultant professionals.

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