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Personal Experience Requirements

Below are the Personal Experience Requirements for mothers interested in applying to the Breastfeeding Counselor Education Program.

Each applicant shall:

I. Be a member of Breastfeeding USA

  • Applicant is a current member of Breastfeeding USA.

II. Support the mission and policies of Breastfeeding USA

  • Acknowledge that she has read supporting organizational documents* available on the Breastfeeding USA website and is able to work within the parameters and scope of a volunteer Breastfeeding Counselor as outlined in the Code of Ethics, Section 3.1

    *Supporting documents include the Bylaws, Code of Ethics, and Breastfeeding Position Statement of Breastfeeding USA.

lll. Be interested in learning more about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support

  • Understand the effectiveness of mother-to-mother support
  • Exhibit an understanding of the cultural barriers to breastfeeding success
  • Have a desire to learn more about breastfeeding and human lactation, and to share that knowledge within her community
  • Be committed to promote breastfeeding to become the cultural norm

lV. Have personal experience with the biological norm for breastfeeding

  • Value nursing at the breast as the biologically normal way to nourish, nurture and comfort her baby
  • Have breastfed her baby for a minimum of one year. If baby has weaned, he nursed for at least the first year and his needs were respected during the weaning process (5/2012)
  • Have started giving her baby complementary foods (solids) when he demonstrated readiness, usually around the middle of the first year for a healthy, full-term baby
  • Recognize and respond to her baby's cues
  • Further recognize and respond to her baby's need for her presence* as well as her breast milk
    *If regularly separated from her baby, the applicant must do (or must have done) so with understanding and sensitivity to her baby's needs.
    *She demonstrates a willingness to maximize mother-baby togetherness and to give high priority to reconnection after a period of separation.

V. Communicate effectively and respectfully

  • Value the diversity of mothers' experiences and recognizes the role that social values and cultural norms play in mothers' decisions
  • Exhibit a willingness to put aside her own personal biases when helping others
  • Exhibit empathy and a respectful attitude towards others
  • Have sufficient command of the English language to complete education in preparation for accreditation, and carry out the responsibilities of a Breastfeeding Counselor
  • Practice consistent and clear email communication, including being willing to read and reliably respond in a timely manner to messages from the organization. (5/2012)
  • Demonstrate, or be willing to develop, effective communication skills and an understanding of the principles of adult learning
  • Listen attentively and respond to mothers with sensitivity and validation of their feelings
  • Exhibit respectful parenting communication, empathy, and understanding of her child's (children's) needs and developmental abilities

Adopted 2/2011
Revised 5/2012

Get Involved

Thank you for taking an interest in the activities of Breastfeeding USA. We welcome your help in fulfilling our mission.

Volunteer Breastfeeding Counselors

We are looking for motivated women to apply to become volunteer Breastfeeding Counselors (BCs). BCs will offer evidence-based information and support to women in their communities through a variety of venues, depending on what is most appropriate in that locality. Counselors may also participate in or moderate our online forums as a representative of Breastfeeding USA and help mothers by phone. If you are interested in learning about our Breastfeeding Counselor education program, please read about becoming a BC.

Local Volunteers

Breastfeeding USA encourages local volunteers to provide practical support for Breastfeeding Counselors who organize Community Chapters. By using their knowledge of their own communities, volunteers can find the best ways to reach out to mothers who might benefit from Breastfeeding USA programs. They can also help plan meetings or classes, arrange fundraisers, assist with publicity, publish Community Chapter newsletters, or hold workshops. Contact your local Community Chapter to find out how you can volunteer.

National Volunteers

Volunteers at the national level may assist with a wide variety of tasks such as writing articles about breastfeeding and related topics for Breastfeeding USA Horizons and the website, training and providing ongoing education and support for Breastfeeding Counselors, updating web pages, programming software, assisting with administrative tasks, sitting on research and advisory panels, publicity, and fundraising. If you would like to volunteer or find out more about open jobs, please contact us.


Consider becoming a Member today for only $25. Your membership helps fund programs such as Breastfeeding Counselor education and training, opening Community Chapters, and hosting the Breastfeeding USA website. Without your membership and donations, our work would not be possible. We need you!

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