BC Guide - Helping Logs

Breastfeeding Counselors are expected to keep accurate logs of all phone helping, email helping, and one-on-one in-person helping sessions. Helping logs can be used in computing statistics for the Community Contact Activity Reporting (CCAR), and is a good resource for a Breastfeeding Counselor to refresh her memory of the situation if the same mother contacts her again at a later time, whether she is asking about the same problem or something new. Helping logs also serve as supporting documentation in the very unlikely event that a claim is made under the Breastfeeding USA professional liability insurance policy.

Information to Log

Helping logs may use any format but must contain a certain minimal amount of information about each helping contact. This information includes:

  • date of contact
  • mother’s name and contact information (phone number or email address)
  • description of problem/question
  • relevant background information of problem
  • recommendations proposed
  • follow-up suggestions

The amount of background information to include in the log varies based on the complexity of the situation. A log of a call requesting information about Breastfeeding USA support group meetings would have minimal information. A helping contact which involved a young infant with difficulty nursing and possible failure to thrive should be extremely well-documented. Background information can include information about:

  • pregnancy and birth (e.g., weeks gestation, vaginal or caesarean birth, complications)
  • baby (e.g., name, age, weights, urine/stooling, health conditions, developmental milestones)
  • mother (e.g., health, support system)
  • breastfeeding management (e.g., frequency and length of feedings, supplementation)
  • health care professional assessments
  • actions already taken and outcomes

Sometimes a mother may be unwilling to provide certain information to a Breastfeeding Counselor at the beginning of a phone helping situation, but she can become more willing to open up once the BC establishes a sense of respect and trust. The mother may have emotional reasons that make her wary of providing personal details. If a mother refuses to answer questions, the BC should simply note that in the log. Providing information and support for the mother is more important than collecting helping log details.

Log Forms

Breastfeeding Counselors can keep their logs as paper or electronic documents. To log email contacts, Breastfeeding Counselors may keep the original emails in a log library. Breastfeeding USA recommends maintaining a backup of electronic log files. Logs of phone and in-person helping contacts can also be recorded in electronic documents, although most Breastfeeding Counselors use paper logs for non-email helping situations. One easy option for logging is to keep a notebook near the phone for logging each call. Breastfeeding Counselors may also use printed log forms with spaces to record information most frequently asked during helping contact situations. Completed log forms can be kept in file folders or binders for later reference. A variety of paper log forms are available in the Breastfeeding USA documents' files, which are available to all accredited BCs who are logged in to their BfUSA email accounts. This is a sample of a Helping Log. When Breastfeeding Counselors create new log template formats they encouraged to share their logs in this file folder.

Logs and CCAR Reporting

Breastfeeding Counselors are required to report their helping activities each month using the Community Contact Activity Reporting (CCAR). Specifically, the CCAR asks each Breastfeeding Counselor to indicate the number of individuals to whom she provided information and support through personal contacts via phone, e-mail, personal visit, or video chat. By aggregating the answers for all Breastfeeding Counselors, Breastfeeding USA can report how many helping contacts were made each month. The CCAR further asks Breastfeeding Counselors to indicate how many of those contacts were first-time helping contacts. With this information, Breastfeeding USA can report how many different individuals are receiving helping services.

A well-organized log system allows Breastfeeding Counselors to easily report this information monthly. Electronic logs can be easily tabulated and checked to identify first-time contacts. Breastfeeding Counselors using paper or notebook logs can use a flag to mark the end of each month’s reported contacts and then count the new log pages, checking the names for any first-time contacts. (First-time contacts could also be marked on the pages as they are logged.) Another option is to keep a one-page tally sheet with the log book on which the Breastfeeding Counselor can make tick marks by category (phone, e-mail, in-person) for each personal and casual contact each month. A sample tally sheet is available here. Alternatively, a PDF copy of the actual CCAR questions can be used for the summary tally sheet. Logging each contact as it occurs, or as soon as possible afterwards, results in the most accurate activity reporting.