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Training and Accreditation

Breastfeeding Counselor candidates complete a comprehensive education course designed to prepare candidates to deliver our mission of providing evidence-based breastfeeding information and support and promoting breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. The course was developed and is taught by experienced Breastfeeding Counselors, many of whom are also IBCLCs.

The course is offered online, using the LearnWorlds teaching platform. It covers all areas of basic breastfeeding management, counseling skills, and an orientation to Breastfeeding USA. Candidates communicate regularly with course teachers and other candidates, yet they work at their own pace. One activity (the counseling skills role-play)requires real-time voice communications. 

Candidates have two years from the date of their enrollment to complete the entire course. The average time to complete the comprehensive course is about 13 months, but motivated candidates who can devote regular time to study often complete it in four months or less.

The course uses the standard lactation textbook, Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide by Lauwers and Swisher. Candidates have access to a full-text online version of this textbook at no extra cost. Candidates may purchase their own hard copy of the textbook (6th edition, ISBN 978-1284052633 ISBN-10: 12 8405263X) if they desire. 

Requirements for BCs once they are accredited:

  • Renew their Breastfeeding USA membership each year.
  • Actively work for the mission of Breastfeeding USA.
  • Maintain all standards outlined in the Breastfeeding Counselor Guide and BreastfeedingUSA Policy Manual.
  • Stay in communication with the organization by joining required email discussion groups, reading posted messages regularly, and reliably responding to all communications from the organization.
  • Report their Breastfeeding Counselor activities online each month.
  • Complete minimal continuing education within three years after accreditation.
  • It is recommended that all Breastfeeding Counselors own a copy of Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers (BAMS) (by Nancy Mohrbacher; Hale Pub., 2010; ISBN: 9780984503902) as a primary helping resource. All active Breastfeeding Counselors in good standing are also able to access this book online through Breastfeeding USA’s training website.

If the two-year limit for coursework has been reached and a candidate has NOT completed the course, they will be withdrawn, with the option to reapply at a later date. Re-admission to the program will require an additional $50 education fee. Additionally, if a re-admitted candidate wishes to “pass out” of modules previously completed, they will be required to retake the final exams for these modules and achieve a score of 100%. If a perfect score is not obtained, the candidate will be required to repeat those module(s) in their entirety. This requirement is to ensure candidates are retaining information in the course, especially if some time has passed since they were originally enrolled.