BC Guide - BRAID (Breastfeeding Resource and Information Department)

Breastfeeding USA recognizes the importance of evidence-based support and information. To ensure that all Breastfeeding Counselors working with mothers and babies have access to the most current breastfeeding information, the organization established BRAID (Breastfeeding Resource and Information Department). BRAID is composed of experienced Breastfeeding Counselors who have extensive knowledge of breastfeeding and the principles of lactation, and have interest in the latest breastfeeding news, information, and research. Additionally, BRAID representatives are available to work directly with mothers who have complex issues.

BRAID supports Breastfeeding Counselors by:

  • Providing up-to-date information and breastfeeding research quickly so that Breastfeeding Counselors can better help mothers and babies.
  • Providing continuing education opportunities in various formats in conjunction with the Continuing Education Workgroup.
  • Assisting Breastfeeding Counselors who are in need of more information when helping mothers with complicated or unusual breastfeeding situations.
  • Providing support when Breastfeeding Counselors reach out to health professionals or network with other breastfeeding advocates in their communities.
  • Assisting Breastfeeding Counselors as they evaluate various resources for breastfeeding information.
  • Developing materials that Breastfeeding Counselors can share directly with mothers and others looking for breastfeeding information.
  • Assisting Breastfeeding Counselors when they are planning presentations or writing articles.
  • Providing a conduit to the services of our Professional Advisory Board in situations that are beyond the scope of BRAID.

When to get assistance from BRAID

Breastfeeding Counselors draw on their personal experiences and strengths when helping a mother and baby. A BC who is faced with a specific situation for which she does not have a lot of experience can consult her educational materials and print resources for information. Breastfeeding Counselors can also contact other BCs in their Chapters or online for insights. BRAID can provide information, support, and encouragement in these instances. BRAID may be helpful in situations where a Breastfeeding Counselor:

  • Has been working with a mother for a period of time and has run out of ideas for helping her to resolve her problem.
  • Has been contacted by a mother who has a medical condition that complicates her breastfeeding situation or who has a baby with a medical condition that affects or is affected by breastfeeding.
  • Is working with a mother who wants to know whether medications recommended for her are compatible with or contraindicated while breastfeeding.
  • Is looking for references to back up information shared with a mother.
  • Is worried that the health or safety of a mother (or the baby) may be in immediate jeopardy, and is not sure what to do next.
  • Has been asked to speak about a breastfeeding topic and needs help accessing the necessary resources.

BRAID can be contacted anytime a BC feels she needs additional information and support in her work for Breastfeeding USA.

Contacting BRAID

When Breastfeeding Counselors contact BRAID for assistance, they should complete the BRAID Contact Form to help them to organize their thoughts about the situation -- what are the issues, what was suggested already, what has the mother tried, what does her health care provider say, etc. Using the form also streamlines the process because it ensures that necessary information is provided to BRAID and problem-solving can begin right away. Breastfeeding Counselors can also use the form when they are looking for help with references, writing, or speaking.

To contact BRAID:

  • Click on the BRAID Contact Form located in the For Volunteers section of the Breastfeeding USA website under the heading “Forms/ Reporting.”
  • Download and complete the entire form.
  • Email the form to BRAID@BreastfeedingUSA.org.
  • If you need an immediate response, please mark your email as URGENT in the subject line.

If you would prefer to talk directly to a BRAID representative, please contact a representative listed on the BC Support Team and BRAID Contacts page on the For Volunteers section of the website.

The BRAID representative will work with you until the situation is resolved to the best of everyone’s ability. Working with BRAID ensures that you have access to up-to-date resources and can provide the best evidence-based breastfeeding information to mothers and babies you help and in public presentations and classes that you deliver.