La Trobe

File(s) stored somewhere else

Please note: Linked content is NOT stored on La Trobe and we can't guarantee its availability, quality, security or accept any liability.

Proactive telephone-based peer support for breastfeeding: a cross-sectional survey of women's experiences of receiving support in the RUBY randomised controlled trial

© Objective The Ringing Up about Breastfeeding earlY (RUBY) randomised controlled trial (RCT) of proactive telephone-based peer support for breastfeeding found that infants of women allocated to the intervention were more likely to be receiving breast milk at 6 months of age than those receiving usual care. This study explores women's experiences of receiving the RUBY peer support intervention. Design Cross-sectional survey. Setting Women were recruited from the postnatal units of three tertiary hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. Participants Women allocated to receive telephone peer support in the RUBY RCT who completed a telephone interview at 6 months postpartum (501/574 (87%) in trial intervention arm) were invited to complete a postal survey on their experience of receiving support. Outcomes Experiences of support from the allocated peer, perceived helpfulness, topics discussed, overall satisfaction with the support and frequency and duration of contact were explored. Results Surveys were sent between August 2013 and March 2016, and 72% (360/501) responded of whom 341 recalled receiving peer support. Women reported high levels of perceived helpfulness (79%) and overall satisfaction with the peer support (93%). Discussions included breastfeeding topics (milk supply, attachment), baby care, baby behaviour, and reassurance and emotional support. Women valued the practical and realistic support from another mother, as well as the proactive nature, continuity and accessibility of the support. The empathy, reassurance and encouragement provided helped the mothers to € cope', to continue breast feeding and to feel empowered. Conclusion Most respondents were positive about their experience of receiving proactive telephone peer support for breastfeeding, further supporting the roll-out of this model as a strategy for increasing breastfeeding maintenance to 6 months. Recommendations include flexibility in the scheduling of calls according to individual need, and the use of text messages in conjunction with proactive calls, to enhance and facilitate communication between the peer and the mother. Trial registration number ACTRN12612001024831.


This work was supported by philanthropic funding from the Felton Bequest, grant number CT 13442, and La Trobe University.



  • School of Nursing and Midwifery

Publication Date



BMJ Open





Article Number



11p. (p. 1-11)


BMJ Group



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

Usage metrics

    Journal Articles


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager