ABM Learn’s Peer Supporter course is a self-led online learning module via desktop or mobile app. Applications are open all year round, and there are no specific ‘intake’ dates.
Applicants for the Peer Supporter (PS) 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 PS module. However, the PS course is designed for those who volunteer only in breastfeeding support and is not suitable for midwifery or other similar students. If you are a health professional in the field of infant feeding, or anyone who works in an infant-related job you must already be involved in voluntary work associated with lactation to be eligible for this course.
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 Peer Supporter course which offers trainees the opportunity to be able to support mother-to-mother, parent-to-parent.
As a Peer 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 Peer Supporter trainees will have breastfed for a minimum of 6 months before they apply for training
Peer supporters need to retain ABM membership to keep the status of Peer 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 11 course pathways 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.
Pathway 1: Getting Started
Pathway 2: Why breastfeed?
Pathway 3: How it works
Pathway 4: Supporting families
Pathway 5: Communication
Pathway 6: Early days
Pathway 7: Position and attachment
Pathway 8: Night times
Pathway 9: Challenges
Pathway 10: Starting solids
Pathway 11: Expressing milk
We also ask learners to do two breastfeeding observations during the course.
After completing the Peer 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.