Instinto Maternal

Community Health Workers provided breastfeeding support through support groups, one-on-one assistance and family education

What we did:

Instinto Maternal (Maternal Instinct) was dedicated to improving breastfeeding rates among Latina migrant mothers by identifying existing breastfeeding strategies and promoting what works from within the community.

Community Health Workers provided individual and group breastfeeding education and support, and the program focused on educating men about the importance of breastfeeding and how they can support a breastfeeding mother. The program also provided a no-cost Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training for Spanish-speaking community members to increase the presence of knowledgeable support for pregnant and new moms.

How our approach worked

This program utilized the novel Positive Deviant Approach to identify successful breastfeeding strategies that already exist within a community and supported the community in promoting those practices that are more likely to lead to success.

In the first year of the program, Promotoras de Salud identified mothers within the community who were successfully breastfeeding and conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews to help identify what strategies, behaviors, and supports helped them reach success. Then, program activities and intervention strategies were developed based on the information gathered.


  • Provide breastfeeding support to at least 100 women
  • Educate at least 1000 contacts about the benefits of breastfeeding
  • Provide a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor training to at least 25 individuals
  • Certify at least 50 establishments as “Breastfeeding Friendly”

Where we served:

Community Health Workers serve in counties of Florida, Michigan and Ohio during the peak seasons when migrant farmworkers call these places home.