The core of the Breastfeeding USA mission is to provide evidence-based information and support to mothers through the high-quality, consistent, and informed services of Breastfeeding Counselors who work with mothers and babies in both one-on-one and small group settings. Breastfeeding USA ensures the success of its mission in these ways:
- The Education Committee ensures that newly accredited Breastfeeding Counselors have the training and skills necessary to provide evidence-based information and supports continuing education of Breastfeeding Counselors.
- The BC Support Team ensures that Breastfeeding Counselors have access to information and support that can help them manage their Community Chapters and provide quality services to breastfeeding mothers.
- The BRAID (Breastfeeding Resources and Information Department) Workgroup provides support for Breastfeeding Counselors when there is a complex or unusual situation with a mother and baby, or when they are interacting with healthcare professionals.
- The BC Discussion Google Group provides a forum for Breastfeeding Counselors to ask questions of other Breastfeeding Counselors.
- Various workgroups and committees provide written resources from within Breastfeeding USA, and also research and recommend outside publications.
The Education Committee is one of the first contacts that most Breastfeeding Counselors have with Breastfeeding USA. The committee ensures that Breastfeeding Counselors have the most current breastfeeding resources at the time of their accreditation. As BCs are accredited, the Education Committee announces the new Breastfeeding Counselors to the BC Support Team. The Education Committee also provides information about continuing education opportunities and verifies compliance with the Continuing Education Requirements to see that Breastfeeding Counselors remain up-to-date with breastfeeding information and research.
BC Support Team
The BC Support Team welcomes the new Breastfeeding Counselor, and follows up with her on a regular basis to assure that she is getting settled within the organization. This contact is helpful as the new BC becomes comfortable in her role. The BC Support Team is a particularly important resource when a BC is establishing a new Community Chapter in an area without co-BCs or other local support. BC Support Team members are themselves Breastfeeding Counselors who have volunteered to provide information and support to other Breastfeeding Counselors when needed. BC Support Team members can help find answers to questions about Breastfeeding USA policies and procedures, provide guidance in handling Community Chapter issues, and direct BCs to other resources to help them in their work. They can simply be good listeners as well, allowing BCs to talk through issues and concerns!
The BC Support Team is organized regionally so that each BC can contact the individual support person assigned to her. Contact information for the Regional BC Support Team members is available on the For Volunteers section of the website, and BCs are welcome to contact anyone on the BC Support Team. Breastfeeding USA hopes to offer regional BC get-togethers in the future where all BCs can meet face-to-face! As Breastfeeding USA continues to grow and add more Community Chapters, the organization expects to periodically redefine the regional support structure so BCs will have support nearby when they need it and have opportunities for gatherings with other BCs in the region.
BRAID (Breastfeeding Resources and Information Department)
The BRAID Workgroup has access to technical breastfeeding resources, including lactation texts and professional publications. Breastfeeding Counselors who encounter an unusual situation or who need access to technical resources can contact BRAID for assistance. BRAID volunteers can help establish contacts with health professionals when needed. More information about how to access BRAID services is detailed in the BRAID section of this BC Guide.
Online Breastfeeding Counselor Support
Breastfeeding Counselors support one another and stay connected to the organization through the BC Discussion Google Group. This group is automatically added to your BreastfeedingUSA.org email account and will appear in the groups tab. We encourage Breastfeeding Counselors to introduce themselves on the list, post questions, and announce local news about Breastfeeding Counselor and Community Chapter activities. Connecting with other Breastfeeding Counselors via the Google Group is a wonderful way to get ideas flowing and share knowledge among the Breastfeeding Counselors throughout the organization.
Other Breastfeeding Counselor Support Resources
Various written resources providing organizational information are available on the “For Volunteers” section of the Breastfeeding USA website. These resources include this BC Guide, the FAQ page, Policies and Procedures Manual, Continuing Educational opportunities listing (coming soon), Breastfeeding Counselor Listings, and various Board memos and announcements. All the forms needed by Breastfeeding Counselors are also available from the For Volunteers menu. Breastfeeding USA recommends specific print resources to assist Breastfeeding Counselors in their efforts to provide breastfeeding information and support. These are listed here.