The Bureau of Nutrition & Physical Activity provides technical assistance to healthcare professionals and local breastfeeding task forces in their efforts in supporting breastfeeding mothers and infants. Read the 2023-2026 Iowa Breastfeeding Strategic Plan to learn more.
WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are paraprofessional women, who have successfully breastfed despite barriers and challenges, and are enthusiastic about sharing their breastfeeding experience and knowledge with women of their culture and language. Peer counselors work closely with WIC and healthcare providers to promote breastfeeding in their communities.
Explore the Stages of Breastfeeding, LEARN, START, OVERCOME, AND THRIVE, through written information, videos, visual aids, and more.
Breastfeeding is a journey. There are ups and downs and feelings of accomplishment and frustration. For more information to help you with resources to successfully breastfeed, visit the USDA Nutrition Services Special Supplemental Nutrition Program.
Why Breastfeeding Peer Counselors?
The use of breastfeeding peer counselors adds value to WIC’s efforts to help women initiate and continue breastfeeding. WIC breastfeeding peer counselors provide a valuable service to their communities, addressing the barriers to breastfeeding by offering breastfeeding education, support, and role modeling. Peer counselors are familiar with the resources available to WIC clients, are familiar with the questions a breastfeeding mother may ask, and recognize when to refer mothers to other resources during critical periods when mothers may experience difficulty.
How Many WIC Offices & Agencies Offer Peer Counseling?
Currently, 12 of the 20 WIC Program Agencies in Iowa offer Peer Counseling services; Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, New Opportunities in Carroll, HACAP in Cedar Rapids, Webster County Health Department in Fort Dodge, Marion County Public Health in Knoxville, American Home Finding in Ottumwa, MATURA Action Corporation in Creston, Mid-Iowa Community Action in Marshalltown and Ames, Operation Threshold in Waterloo, Siouxland District Health Department in Sioux City, Johnson County Public Health in Iowa City and Pottawattamie County WIC in Council Bluffs. There are nearly 40 trained Peer Counselors in these 12 agencies serving over 1,400 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers a year.
- All 15 WIC Program Agencies in Iowa offer peer Counseling services, covering all 99 counties.
- There are over 30 Peer Counselors in these 15 agencies serving over 3,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers a year.
Resource guides developed by the Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition are available for use by healthcare professionals who provide counseling to breastfeeding mothers. Resources and information about becoming a member of the coalition can be found on the Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition website.
Data & Reports
The CDC Breastfeeding Report Card provides national- and state-level data to help public health practitioners, health professionals, community members, child care providers, and family members work together to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The Report Card indicators measure types of support in key community settings as well as the most current data on the breastfeeding goals outlined in Healthy People 2020. Read the CDC's 2020 Breastfeeding Report Card.
- WIC Breastfeeding Support
- Iowa Breastfeeding Coalition
- Iowa Women's Health
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office on Women's Health
- Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) Survey
- WIC Breastfeeding Data Local Agency Reports