Applicants for the Mother Supporter (MS) course often also hope to apply to train as a midwife or similar role, or plan to spend the time between being accepted for midwifery training or similar role and starting the course by improving their knowledge of breastfeeding through the MS module. However, the MS course is designed for those who volunteer only in breastfeeding support and is not suitable for midwifery or other similar students.
The ABM Foundation course, also offered by the ABM, is a suitable alternative for those in this position.
Please read and understand the following points when deciding which course to apply for:
Our most popular course for volunteers is our Mother Supporter course which offers trainees the opportunity to be able to support mother-to-mother, parent-to-parent.
As a Mother Supporter, you will encourage normal breastfeeding and you are not expected to solve complicated breastfeeding problems.
Our course is taken online in your home and can be accessed by computer, tablet or phone.
You will be given 12 weeks to complete the course once enrolled. Please ensure you are able to meet this deadline before enrolling onto the course once accepted.
Our online course provides you with resources you need including:
# evidence-based research articles and audio / film clips and a recommended reading list.
# support from trainees and counsellors, on our dedicated Facebook ABM Trained and Training Group or through your regional supervisor.
The module is assessed through quizzes, short and long-answer sections and although it is based online, it includes interaction with a human ABM marker.
This course is not suitable for anyone who works with breastfeeding mothers in a paid capacity (e.g. postnatal doula or maternity nurse) and is only for those who will offer voluntary support. We do require that all our Mother Supporter trainees will have breastfed for a minimum of 6 months before they apply for training
Mother supporters need to retain ABM membership to keep the status of Mother supporter and to be covered by our insurance. You can choose to attend our regional study days and annual conference to supplement your learning.
∙ We anticipate that the 14 lecture sections and two breastfeeding observations will need approximately 35 hours of study. Plan to spend at least 3 hours per week on the course in order to stay on track for your deadline. This includes using the resources within the lessons and completion of the quizzes.
∙ Much of the course is self-marking and this should enable to you feel confident as you move through the course content.
∙ The expected outcome of this learning experience is that you will consolidate your knowledge around breastfeeding and understand why it is so valuable to families and communities. You will gain confidence to support other parents in your community.
∙ This course is suitable for those with a range of breastfeeding knowledge—from beginners to advanced—and is inclusive of differing ability.
Unit 1 – Why is breastfeeding important?
Unit 2 – How breastfeeding works
Unit 3 – Early days of breastfeeding
Unit 4 – Night times
Unit 5 – Positioning and attachment
Unit 6 – Breastfeeding challenges
Unit 7 – Drugs, medication and illness
Unit 8 – Starting solid foods
Unit 9 – Expressing breast milk
Unit 10 – Myth busting
Unit 11 – Communication skills
Unit 12 – Exploring Scenarios and appropriate referral
Unit 13 – Your role as a mother supporter
Unit 14 – The International Code
Unit 15 – Context of UK breastfeeding support
We also ask learners to do two breastfeeding observations during the course.
After completing the Mother Supporter course, some volunteers go on to complete our more in-depth course to become a breastfeeding counsellor and to volunteer on the National Breastfeeding Helpline.
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.