Peer counselors must meet the following qualifications and competency-based training requirements:
- Has personal experience with breastfeeding, having breastfed at least one baby.
- Is a paraprofessional (as described in the Loving Support Model) from the target population; which is defined as:
“An individual without extended professional training in health, nutrition, or the clinical management of breastfeeding who are selected from the group to be served and are trained and given ongoing supervision to provide a basic service or function. Paraprofessionals provide specific tasks within a defined scope of practice. They assist professionals, but are not licensed or credentialed as healthcare, nutrition, or lactation consultant professionals.”
- Peer Counselors are required to complete the following counseling and breastfeeding training modules within 1 month of hire:
- Stage 1 – All WIC Staff
- Stage 3 – Nutrition Assessment & Breastfeeding Support (only three required)
- Baby Behaviors
- Toddler Behaviors
- Infant Nutrition
- Loving Support Peer Counselor training within 1 month of hire – All Peer Counselors are required to attend the Loving Support Peer Counseling Training offered by the State WIC Office, AND
- State provided breastfeeding training within 1 year of hire – All Peer Counselors are required to complete this comprehensive breastfeeding training once every five (5) years. Staff can attend a course offered by the State WIC Office or another similar course.