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An intervention where peer-supporters use a motivational interviewing (MI) based approach to support young mums and mums living in deprived areas to breastfeed for longer.


In order to understand how peer support is currently provided and what benefits users would like to get from peer support services, we held focus groups with mothers and fathers, interviewed health professionals and surveyed UK service providers.

This informed the development of our motivational interviewing (MI)-based intensive one-to-one breastfeeding peer support intervention. MI is a form of counselling that supports people in changing behaviour by exploring their thoughts and concerns and supporting them in setting their own goals.

We trained peer-supporters in using an MI-based approach and provided them with skills to communicate effectively with mothers. Our intervention included face-to-face contact with a peer supporter within 48 hours of birth, followed by proactive (every other day) one-to-one contact led by the peer supporter for two weeks after birth and mother-led contact between two weeks and six weeks.


The aim of the study was to test whether it is possible to deliver a MI-based peer support intervention in three areas across England and Wales where there are high levels of social and economic deprivation, high rates of teenage pregnancy and low rates of breastfeeding.

To test this, we recruited and trained eight peer-supporters who provided support to 70 women over six months. Women who were considering breastfeeding were recruited via community midwives at their antenatal appointment.

Study design

In order to test delivery of the intervention, we collected information on how many mothers took up the peer-support service, whether it was provided as planned, if it is acceptable to mothers, health professionals and peer supporters and the cost of providing MI-based BFPS.

We collected information from mothers through questionnaires before the intervention, 10 days post birth and 8-10 weeks post birth. We also obtained views on the intervention through interviews with 28 mothers, eight peer supporters and 12 health professionals.

Key facts

Start date 1 Sep 2014
End date 14 Feb 2017
Grant value £293,310
  • Analysis and reporting

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