The Breastfeeding Corner

Helpful Hints: Breastfeeding and Mentoring

Fact:
Desired qualities of a Mentor:
  • Acts as a role model and advocate, also is available and responsive
  • Believes in the capabilities of the mentee, also willing to share expertise and insight
  • Motivates, supports and enhances the mentee's development
  • Is current in their knowledge of the field, has leadership experience plus vision
  • Knows how to access professional networks and seeks to enhance political awareness

Tip: Ask your health care provider if they offer breastfeeding support groups and if you can be referred to a peer counselor during your pregnancy.

Benefit: Accepting the role of informal mentor presents an opportunity for experts to contribute to the continued growth of their profession.

Risk:
, including disadvantaged, middle-income, and low-income populations. Peer support is considered vital to breaking down barriers to breastfeeding in a woman's social network, especially among groups with low breastfeeding rates. Studies conducted in WIC & Nutrition clinics across the country prove that women who do not receive peer support:
  1. Breastfeed less
  2. Are less likely to initiate breastfeeding
  3. Were less likely to be breastfeeding at 1 and 3 months postpartum

Myth: Physicians know a lot about breastfeeding. Very few physicians trained in North America or Western Europe learned anything at all about breastfeeding in medical school. Even fewer learned about the practical aspects of helping mothers start breastfeeding and helping them maintain breastfeeding. After medical school, most of the information physicians get regarding infant feeding comes from formula company representatives or advertisements.

Breastfeeding Resource: The National Mentoring Partnership, 201 South Street, Suite 615 Boston, MA 02111; www.mentoring.org; info@mentoring.org; (617) 303-4600