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Becoming a Breastfeeding Counselor

If you have previously served Breastfeeding USA as an accredited Breastfeeding Counselor and you would like to be reinstated, please email

1. Breastfeeding Counselors: Who they are and what they do.

  • Accreditation: Breastfeeding Counselors are accredited and trained volunteer representatives of Breastfeeding USA who participate in activities that support the organization’s mission in their communities, online, and the national organization. 
  • Peer support: Breastfeeding Counselors offer evidence-based peer support through in-person meetings, over the phone or online as Breastfeeding USA representatives. As peer support, Breastfeeding Counselors play an important part in supporting families with their overall success and satisfaction with breastfeeding.
  • Behind the scenes: Breastfeeding Counselors also volunteer in other ways, such as providing administrative support, engaging in advocacy activities and creating content to share through social media to support the mission of the organization. 
  • Stakeholders: Breastfeeding Counselors are valued stakeholders in the organization with the rights and privileges of voting members. These include nominating and voting directly for board members, attendance at board meetings, and inclusion in the annual meeting where they may vote on issues that directly affect them.
  • We have compiled a Becoming a Breastfeeding Counselor FAQ you might find helpful. 

2. Breastfeeding Counselor Eligibility

  • Personal Experience Requirements: Those who have fed their baby at the breast or pumped and fed their breast milk for at least six months, and who fulfill the other Personal Experience Requirements are welcome to apply to our Breastfeeding Counselor Education Program. If you have not yet fed your child for at least six months, please wait until six months have passed before submitting your application. 
  • Location: Breastfeeding USA accredits qualified Breastfeeding Counselor candidates who reside within one of the United States, its territories, possessions, and/or military bases. Breastfeeding USA counselors are protected by the Breastfeeding USA insurance policies when they are pursuing the mission of Breastfeeding USA within one or more of the United States, its territories, possessions, and/or military bases.

If your goal is a career in lactation:

  • Breastfeeding USA accredits BCs to support the organization’s mission; the credential is not designed to be used in professional lactation or other health care services. Accreditation as a Breastfeeding Counselor is for the purpose of volunteering for Breastfeeding USA and supporting its mission of providing evidence-based information and support in a mother-to-mother model.
  • The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) recognizes Breastfeeding USA as a peer support counselor organization. Breastfeeding USA Counselors can obtain the lactation care experience required to be eligible for the IBCLC exam through Pathway 1 by volunteering in support of our mission.

3. What to do before applying to become a Breastfeeding Counselor.

  1. Read the Personal Experience Requirements to ensure that you are eligible to become a BC. 
  2. Read these key organizational documents to learn about our goals, policies, and structure:
  3. If you are not yet a member, join Breastfeeding USA online or by mail.
    • Membership is $35 annually (non-refundable).
    • All BC applicants, BC candidates, and active BCs must be current members.
  4. Obtain permission from two people who know you well who we may contact for a personal recommendation on your behalf.
    • Recommenders should be people you know in person, who are not related to you (this includes significant others and those related by marriage).
    • We are more interested in hearing from people who know you well as a mother and a friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc. than from those who know you primarily as a breastfeeding supporter.

Carefully read the rest of the information on this page before submitting your application online.

4. Completing and submitting your application

  1. After you have read all the preceding information about becoming a BC, and have found two people to provide recommendations:
  2. Before submitting your application:
    • Ensure you have entered your email address correctly, as this is the primary method of communication.
    • When reviewing the application acknowledgment, be sure to review all of the information we are confirming and to answer all of the additional questions asked.
  3. Save and submit your application:
    • This application will take about 20 minutes to complete.
    • Complete all required fields and click Submit.
    • If you fill out this form while logged into a Google account, your progress is automatically saved as a draft for 30 days. This means if you can’t complete your application or need to switch devices, you don’t have to start over the next time you open it. If you’re offline, this autosave function doesn’t work.
    • If you do not have a Google account, you must complete the application in one sitting.

5. After your application is submitted

  1. After you submit your application online, we will email you to acknowledge receipt of your application.
    • Please reply to that message.
    • If an email doesn’t arrive within four days, contact us.
    • You must reply to this application acknowledgment in order for us to move forward with your application.
  2. Once we have received your email confirming your application acknowledgment, we will contact your references. 
  3. Once we have two acceptable recommendations for you, you will be contacted via email by one of our volunteers to schedule the required phone interview.
  4. Following the phone interview, the Applications Review Workgroup will decide whether to accept your application. 
  5. If accepted, you will pay the $125 education fee to become a Breastfeeding Counselor Candidate and will be enrolled in the online comprehensive course. 

Note: The length of the application time can vary greatly. Applicants can expect the process to take one to three months.

At a Glance: The cost of becoming a Breastfeeding Counselor

  • Breastfeeding USA annual membership: $35 (non-refundable)
    • Required to submit an application.
    • Must be renewed annually to remain a BC applicant, BC candidate, or active BC.
  • Education fee: $125 (one-time, non-refundable)
    • Due upon acceptance of your application; required to become a BC candidate and start training.
    • Financial assistance is available in cases of financial hardship. 
  • Required textbook: access to the online version is included in your education fee.
    • Counseling the Nursing Mother, 6th edition, by Judith Lauwers and Anna Swisher. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2015. ISBN: 9781284052633.
      • We plan on continuing to use the 6th edition for at least the next year.
    • Candidates may purchase a hard copy if they prefer that format; the book is widely available through online booksellers for approximately $80 new.
    • We welcome donations to help us waive education fees and cover other course expenses. Please donate online or contact us for details.


If you have read this page in its entirety and still need clarification, please contact us.