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.