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Formal training as "lactation consultant" or similar - how about....

(15 Posts)
PacificDogwood Thu 11-Jun-09 23:13:08


Or this?? Sadly, I am not in Canada.

Or does anybody on here have another suggestion?

I am looking for something that I can do in my own time, so on-line course is ideal, and that is doable whilst working 35 hrs/week and looking after 3 monsters delightful children.

Has anybody done anything similar? Any experiences you are prepared to share, good or bad, greatly appreciated.


NotQuiteCockney Thu 11-Jun-09 23:16:09

I'm currently training with the BFN. It's an in-person course.

I think the course has to be an in-person one, because a lot of the training (on this and any other bf support course) is about learning how to support and help women. And for that, you need to practice, on the other women in your course.

Tambajam Fri 12-Jun-09 07:11:20

What is your final goal? Are you looking to retrain and find paid work in bf support? Or to work as a volunteer?
The ABM offer volunteer bf counsellor training as a home study course ( There is a requirement for an annual update outside the home but it can be done on a Saturday. The course does require some observations to be done in your own time. You have an assigned mentor and an online support group available. It took me around 100 hours in total and about 18 months - I did it quite briskly. HOWEVER once you are qualified you do need to be commit to 2 slots on the national helpline/ ABM helpline. This would mean practically that you would take calls in the evenings after work and one weekend slot (e.g. every weekend afternoon). It is quite a committment for a working mum.
A typical person qualifying as a lactation consultant in the UK has a background as a health professional and has then spent several years supporting bfing mothers with a national organization. And has then done additional training prior to taking the LC exam. Not something that can easily done while working another fulltime job!

PacificDogwood Fri 12-Jun-09 22:23:44

Thanks for your comments, both of you!

At present I have only a fairly nebulous idea of developing our practices support of Bfing beyond what we are able to do at the moment. Whether or not I need a formal qualification for this I do not know. I am not looking to retrain or a full change of career and am aware that I do have other committments that are important to me.

I am probably not looking to provide "hands-on" support to struggling BFing mothers, ie checking latch/position etc as there is good support availabe in our area (of which I have taken full advantage myself wink). I was thinking more along the lines of collating the relevant contact details on one leaflet to be given out with other antenatal information we provide. Also to have the knowledge to simply talk to mothers and be able to bust some of the myths that go around. I was simply wondering about the best way to make sure that I know what I am talking about.

From what you are both saying I am probably better just carrying on as I am doing and simply putting myself forward as somebody in the practice who is happy to deal with woman's BFing problems and point them in the right direction if they need/want practical help.

Thanks for taking the time to answer with your experiences.

Grendle Sat 13-Jun-09 01:04:12

A peer support course might perhaps be a good place to start? Lots of the voluntary orgs run shorter courses that are not as significant a commitment as the longer and more in depth training.

foxytocin Sat 13-Jun-09 05:24:04

The ABM also has a mother supporter course which I'd say takes about 12-16 hrs to do as a home study. It sounds like this is more for you from your second post.

To remain a MS you also have to show you have updated your knowledge every 2 yrs and remain a member of the ABM.

Tambajam Sat 13-Jun-09 06:46:05

I agree with foxytocin that you may find the mother supporter course valuable. Or get in touch with your HV and find out about peer supporter training options.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 13-Jun-09 08:20:13

There's a two-day WHO or UN course around, too.

Alternatively, there are plenty of information books out there that are trustworthy - I'm sure others on here could recommend some?

NotQuiteCockney Sat 13-Jun-09 08:21:13

"Lactation consultant" to me, means "someone who charges for her advice, which is probably crap" - but that's based on the people on TV, and the local people who charge for advice.

PacificDogwood Sat 13-Jun-09 11:43:21

grin at NotQuiteCockney!
No, I was most definetely NOT planning on charging for advice - and I would really really hope not to be crap, LOL!

Mother supporter course sounds good. I will look into that a bit more.

Now feel a bit silly having used the term "lactation consultant" blush..

weasle Sat 13-Jun-09 14:13:42

hi, are you a GP pacific dogwood? or a midwife or HV?? I am a hospital doctor and do not have much contact with breastfeeding mothers in my job, but I did the ABM mother supporter course and it might be just what you want - to show a commitment/interest in the subject and develop some basic skills in helping bf mothers.

I have managed to help two mothers who i was asked to see with other problems who had been told by uninformed colleagues of mine that they had to stop bf, with no medical reason for this, just ignorance.

I also plan to help/support in a local bf group if i can co-ordinate a day off on that day.

i did mother supporter module in the evenings and it didn't take too long. would def recommend.

PacificDogwood Sat 13-Jun-09 17:52:04

Yep, you've got me made, weasle - I am a GP. And would like to take the lead in my practice to promote BFing. Our local BFing rates are terrible, in keeping with the much of country, I suppose.
What you are doing sounds interesting and I am certainly going to look at the ABM mother supporter course which sounds much more manageable than some of the other things on offer.
I am wondering: how much encouragement do you feel you have from your colleagues/management etc? Or are you made to feel "weird" (the phrase "BFing Nazi" springs to mind wink)for your ongoing interest?
I certainly was totally ignorant and quite naive, entirely unprepared for the potential difficulties of BFing. And I got better at it with each subsequent child (how many more must I have to become perfect grin) and with increasing information and knowledge.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 13-Jun-09 18:23:42

Ah, sorry - I was just being clear about what lactation consultant meant to me. I'm glad to hear you're not planning on charging for advice!

I'd recommend looking around and finding out which of the four local BF support groups has made the best inroads in your neighbourhood (NCT/LLL/BFN/ABM). And then I'd get help from them.

Our neighbhourhood is BFN, and we have volunteers in many local baby clinics, just attending, alongside the HVs and providing accurate BF information. Could you do that for the baby clinic at your practice?

The BFN beginners course is 2 hours a week, for 12 weeks. Creche available and the course is free. Much of that is about counselling, though, which may not be too relevant to you.

Given you're a GP, maybe just reading a good book or two, and connecting up with what local BF support there already is, would do the trick?

Grendle Sat 13-Jun-09 23:20:44

I'd suggest making sure whatever course you take offers you the opportunity to debrief your own experiences of bf. Often our own experiences are what lead us to training, but are not so helpful in supporting breastfeeding mothers or examining objectively a situation superficially similar to something we've encountered personally, as our own bf experiences are so much tied up with emotions about our children often. Good peer support courses will have elements of this (I think the ABM short course is a peer support course?).

As a GP you may also be able to access or arrange UNICEF Babyfriendly training (google it)? I think it's fab to see GPs taking such an interest smile. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

PacificDogwood Sun 14-Jun-09 08:54:26

Our practice has just done the UNICEF babyfriendly training. You should have seen some of our older more experienced receptionists having to sit through a talk on how they should respond if somebody is looking for a private space to BF, PMSL!

Yes, debriefing and peer support, definetely v important. I have already been aware on how my own experiences can sneak in when I try to counsel others. Tricky, but surely insight is the first step to objectivity wink?

Thank you for everybody's input. It has been v helpful.

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