ABM Breastfeeding Counsellor training is based around eight modules which are sent to you by email. You’ll complete them by studying at home and return your module by email to our training team for assessment. The training programme includes anatomy and physiology, management of breastfeeding, assessing and evaluating problems, and how to resolve them with counselling and listening skills.
At the start and midway through your training, you’ll be asked to find a few local people willing to let you watch them breastfeed to help with your training. You’ll get several opportunities to practice taking a helpline call with your Breastfeeding Counsellor Coordinator (BFCC) before you start taking calls on the NBH. There are also practical assessments throughout the course.
Each BFC trainee has a BFCC who will support them throughout training and beyond. We have a dedicated Facebook group for volunteers who are training with us.
BFC 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 regular online study sessions but these aren’t compulsory.
An ABM BFC must remain a BFC for at least two years and take NBH calls from their own home. Before you start training, you will sign an agreement to this and to abide by the ABM’s code of conduct. Your membership should be kept 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 BFCC too.
The role of a BFC is not 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 BFC if they demonstrate their strong commitment to fulfilling their voluntary responsibilities and appreciate the need to separate their voluntary work from their paid role. These trainees will follow the same path as Doulas, which is the BFC (Combined) course.
You can read more about the training options we offer Doulas here.
Some applicants have found our breastfeeding counselling and advanced courses a helpful starting point for eventually preparing for IBLCE applications. Our courses, despite their length, do not cover all aspects of the core curriculum needed to take the lactation consultant’s exam. If a trainee’s primary intention in taking our courses is to contribute towards the 90 hours necessary, we recommend finding an alternative. As a charity with limited resources, we are unable to give individuals specific advice about a possible IBLCE application and we encourage those interested to contact IBCLE to learn more about the process.
Please note PS / BFC status is not valid outside of the UK. If a PS / BFC changes their residency to outside the UK or is temporarily out of the UK for longer than three months, then their status is no longer valid and is revoked. This applies to training status also.