Presentation Information

Tamara Drenttel Brand

Reflections on a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program in Lebanon: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

Abstract:

Breastfeeding rates are exceptionally low in Lebanon. Only 40% of mothers exclusively breastfed through the first month and 2.4% continued to exclusively breastfeed between 4 and 5 months. In 2012, I developed, implemented and evaluated a pilot Breastfeeding Peer Counselor (BPC) Training Program in Beirut, Lebanon. I chose this format since BPCs are adaptable to local contexts and studies have shown that that improve rates of breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity in a variety of settings and across diverse populations.

The program successfully trained 8 BPCs and led directly to the establishment of the largest mother-to-mother peer breastfeeding online support network in the Middle East (over 11,000 members to date). This presentation will provide participants with the knowledge to develop, adapt, and implement their own BPC Training programs suited to their local context. In addition, this presentation will reflect upon ethical considerations of such programs and will offer guidance on the process of program evaluation. This will allow participants to identify their own program’s strengths and weaknesses, which can improve the effectiveness of subsequent organizations.