Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program in Malaysia: Impact on Breastfeeding Duration and Exclusivity

Ezura Madiana Md Monoto , Zuhra Hamzah, Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi, Asrul Abdul Wahab

Ezura Madiana Md Monoto
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association. Email: ezura@ppukm.ukm.edu.my

Zuhra Hamzah
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi
Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association; School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Asrul Abdul Wahab
Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association; Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Online First: December 01, 2020 | Cite this Article
Md Monoto, E., Hamzah, Z., Mohamad Alwi, N., Abdul Wahab, A. 2020. Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program in Malaysia: Impact on Breastfeeding Duration and Exclusivity. Bali Medical Journal 9(3): 876-883. DOI:10.15562/bmj.v9i3.1677

Background: The Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association (MBfPCA) is a pioneer non-governmental organization (NGO) of trained breastfeeding peer counselors in Malaysia. We explored the effect of peer counseling support on breastfeeding outcomes among postnatal mothers who delivered at a national tertiary teaching hospital and their satisfaction with the peer counseling services.

Method: A total of 210 postpartum mothers were recruited in a single-blinded, randomized, controlled trial. Block randomization was used to allocate the participants into the intervention (I) group (n=105), who received telephone-based peer counseling support at 72 hours, 2 weeks, 1, 2, 4 and 6 months postpartum; and the control (C) group (n=105), who received routine breastfeeding advice. The infant feeding practices information was obtained at 2, 4 and 6 months postpartum from both groups. Data on maternal satisfaction with peer counseling services was acquired from the intervention group participants 6 months postpartum.

Results: Ninety-four mothers were lost to follow up, leaving 116 (I=60, C=56) for analysis. The number of participants who practiced exclusive breastfeeding was higher in the intervention group at all intervals, with significant difference seen at 6 months postpartum (p = 0.035). Significant differences were also seen in the prevalence of breastfeeding between the groups at 4 and 6 months postpartum (p = 0.017 and p = 0.010). All participants who practiced exclusive breastfeeding found that peer counselors helped them reach their breastfeeding goals (p =0.001) and would recommend peer counseling services to others (p = 0.037).

Conclusion: Peer counselor support in Malaysia increased the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding and was well accepted among postnatal mothers.


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