Breastfeeding education is our core aim so we offer several breastfeeding training courses. If you’ve breastfed for at least 6 months, we can offer qualification as an ABM Mother Supporter and as an ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor. If you have little or no experience of breastfeeding but wish to support breastfeeding mothers and babies, we offer our Breastfeeding Support Training courses (Foundation and Advanced). All our courses are distance learning and three are now available as online modules.
Our training courses
- Mother Supporter – online module
- Breastfeeding Counsellor – a further eight modules by email
- Breastfeeding Support Training : Foundation – online module
- Breastfeeding Support Training : Advanced – a further eight modules by email
- Partner module – a basic online module for partners and families
Mother Supporter training
£25 (plus £20 annual membership fee)
Mother Supporters are positive role models who support and encourage local mothers with straightforward breastfeeding relationships. An ABM Mother Supporter helps out as a “well informed friend” in a voluntary capacity so this course isn’t available to those working in a paid infant-feeding related role or as a doula, for example. A Mother Supporter doesn’t offer counselling or try to solve problems but she will recognise when to put a mum in touch with a breastfeeding counsellor.
Our Mother Supporter module is available online. Please email email@example.com for details. All Mother Supporters must have breastfed (not necessarily without problems) for at least six months. A Mother Supporter needs to keep her ABM membership up to date to ensure she’s covered by our professional indemnity insurance while she is acting in the role of an ABM Mother Supporter.
All trainees are required to complete our Mother Supporter module before applying for our Breastfeeding Counsellor training.
Breastfeeding Counsellor training
£100 (plus £20 annual membership fee)
After successfully completing the Mother Supporter module, you can apply to train as an ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor.
ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor training is based around eight modules which are sent and marked by email. During a six month probationary counselling period on the helpline you’ll be well supported by your regional co-ordinator. Our counsellors tell us how rewarding it is to be able to listen to the concerns of breastfeeding mums and be able to offer help and reassurance.
Our training programme includes anatomy and physiology, the management of breastfeeding, assessing and evaluating problems and how to resolve them with counselling and listening skills. There is also a practical breastfeeding observation to complete and practise telephone counselling with tutors which prepares you for offering appropriate information and support on the helpline.
The modules contain short answer questions, as well as scenarios covering counselling and listening skills and practical work. We ask that each module is completed within six weeks. The course is demanding and not suitable for anyone already engaged in further learning e.g. Open University or midwifery courses.
Each breastfeeding counsellor trainee has a regional co-ordinator who will support her throughout training and beyond. We have a dedicated Facebook group for volunteers who are training with us.
Breastfeeding counsellor training takes approximately two years to complete. Training is flexible so that study can be fitted around family life, and there are no required weekends away or set dates for study sessions. We arrange occasional regional workshops and study days but these aren’t compulsory.
An ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor must remain a counsellor for at least two years and take helpline calls from her own home. Before you start training, you’ll be asked to sign a contract agreeing to this and to abide by the ABM’s code of conduct. You’ll need to keep your membership up to date and you should attend either an approved study day or complete a revision module every year. You’ll need to keep in regular communication with your regional co-ordinator too.
The ABM is a mother-to-mother organisation and the role of a breastfeeding counsellor is not normally available to those in a paid health professional or infant-feeding related role. However, it may be possible for a mother in a paid position to train as a breastfeeding counsellor if they demonstrate their strong commitment to fulfilling their voluntary responsibilities and appreciate the need to separate their voluntary work from their paid role. You can read more about the training options we offer doulas here.
Breastfeeding Support Training: Foundation
£175 (includes a year’s ABM membership)
This course follows a syllabus very similar to that of our mother supporter training. It’s suitable for those in a paid role (e.g., doulas, Baby Calm Teacher or NCT teacher) and is now an online module. This course is not a breastfeeding counsellor qualification but does encourage a broader scope of study and research that will give you a deeper understanding of how breastfeeding works and a good foundation to further your breastfeeding education. It is particularly suitable as a lactation training entry point for NHS support workers involved in supporting breastfeeding mothers & babies.
The cost of this course includes support during training. If you’re in a paid role, your employer would be responsible for ongoing supervision. You do not need to have breastfed to complete this course.
Breastfeeding Support Training : Advanced
£725 (includes 2 years’ ABM membership)
This course follows a syllabus very similar to that of our breastfeeding counsellor training but doesn’t lead to a breastfeeding counsellor qualification. If you’re interested in advancing your knowledge in breastfeeding support but you don’t wish to train as an ABM breastfeeding counsellor (or you don’t fulfil the criteria) you may be interested in completing this course. It is suitable for those who may not have breastfed at all. You would start with our online Foundation module (as above) then proceed to our email-correspondence course for a further eight modules. This course is particularly suitable as foundation training in lactation issues for busy health professionals involved in leading breastfeeding support services.
The cost of the course includes two years of ABM membership and is completed through home study. It takes approximately two years to complete. You aren’t going to join the ABM helpline so this training course is not subsidised and requires a greater financial commitment. You’ll have the support of a regional co-ordinator who will give you help and guidance throughout your training.
This is a simple and basic online course to help partners and families understand how best to support the breastfeeding mother and baby. This course doesn’t include ABM membership but you may like to join to receive our colourful magazines and full set of breastfeeding information leaflets. ABM membership makes a great gift for a new mum.
How to apply for training
Mother Supporter You’ll need to send in an application form and a reference. Contact the training team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Breastfeeding Counsellor You’ll need to apply for our Mother Supporter training first.
Breastfeeding Support Training (Foundation) You don’t need to apply for this course or supply a reference. You can start online at any time. https://courses.abm.support/courses/
Breastfeeding Support Training (Advanced) You’ll need to complete the Foundation course first. You’re welcome to ask for more details about the Advanced course at any time.
Partner module You can start this course at any time at https://courses.abm.support/courses/
If you’re interested in finding out what our former trainees think of our training you can visit this page and read their testimonials.
To download written information about our training courses click here.