Development of a novel motivational interviewing (MI) informed peer-support intervention to support mothers to breastfeed for longer

Rhiannon Phillips* (Corresponding Author), Lauren Copeland, Aimee Grant, Julia Sanders, Nina Gobat, Sally Tedstone, Helen Stanton, Laura Merrett, Stephen Rollnick, Michael Robling, Amy Brown, Billie Hunter, Deborah Fitzsimmons, Sian Regan, Heather Trickey, Shantini Paranjothy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Many women in the UK stop breastfeeding before they would like to, and earlier than is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Given the potential health benefits for mother and baby, new ways of supporting women to breastfeed for longer are required. The purpose of this study was to develop and characterise a novel Motivational Interviewing (MI) informed breastfeeding peer-support intervention. Methods: Qualitative interviews with health professionals and service providers (n=14), and focus groups with mothers (n=14), fathers (n=3), and breastfeeding peer-supporters (n=15) were carried out to understand experiences of breastfeeding peer-support and identify intervention options. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. Consultation took place with a combined professional and lay Stakeholder Group (n=23). The Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) guided intervention development process used the findings of the qualitative research and stakeholder consultation, alongside evidence from existing literature, to identify: the target behaviour to be changed; sources of this behaviour based on the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation (COM-B) model; intervention functions that could alter this behaviour; and; mode of delivery for the intervention. Behaviour change techniques included in the intervention were categorised using the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy Version 1 (BCTTv1). Results: Building knowledge, skills, confidence, and providing social support were perceived to be key functions of breastfeeding peer-support interventions that aim to decrease early discontinuation of breastfeeding. These features of breastfeeding peer-support mapped onto the BCW education, training, modelling and environmental restructuring intervention functions. Behaviour change techniques (BCTTv1) included social support, problem solving, and goal setting. The intervention included important inter-personal relational features (e.g. trust, honesty, kindness), and the BCTTv1 needed adaptation to incorporate this. Conclusions: The MI-informed breastfeeding peer-support intervention developed using this systematic and user-informed approach has a clear theoretical basis and well-described behaviour 3 change techniques. The process described could be useful in developing other complex interventions that incorporate peer-support and/or MI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number90
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Early online date11 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This project was funded by a grant from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme (NIHR HTA grant 13/18/05). The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA, NIHR, National Health Service or the Department of Health.

Availability of data and materials
Data from the qualitative interviews and focus groups has not been made publically available due to the potential to identify individuals from data of this nature, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a novel motivational interviewing (MI) informed peer-support intervention to support mothers to breastfeed for longer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this