What is a breastfeeding counsellor?

Nurturing the Bond: A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Breastfeeding Counsellor

Breastfeeding is a natural and essential aspect of infant care, an experience that is the ultimate bonding opportunity for parents and their babies. However, it can sometimes be challenging for both mothers and babies. This is where the role of breastfeeding counsellor comes in – and can play a vital role in supporting families during this wonderful rollercoaster time. 

Let’s explore what a breastfeeding counsellor is, the training required to become one, how to find the right training provider, and why Antenatal Training International stands out as an ideal choice for aspiring breastfeeding counsellors in the UK if you are looking to embark on this rewarding and fulfilling career.

What is a breastfeeding counsellor?

A breastfeeding counsellor is a trained professional who provides guidance, support, and education to mothers and families during the breastfeeding journey.

Their role is to empower mothers with the knowledge and skills needed to initiate and sustain breastfeeding successfully and to help with building the bonds and supporting the relationships that can contribute to making this season of parenting something to enjoy. 

Breastfeeding counsellors can play a crucial role in promoting breastfeeding as the optimal choice for infant nutrition – without the negative pressure or stigma that other roles may do (inadvertently or otherwise!).

Training to become a breastfeeding counsellor:

Becoming a breastfeeding counsellor requires specialised training to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.

In the UK, several organisations offer accredited training programs, and here at Antenatal Training International we are proud to offer this course with an accredited qualification. Here’s an approach to take with training to become a breastfeeding counsellor:

Begin by researching organisations or initiatives that offer breastfeeding counsellor programmes. Familiarise yourself with their requirements, training programs, and application processes. Reflect on your personal breastfeeding experience and consider if you meet the prerequisites, such as breastfeeding your child for an extended period.

Once you have identified a suitable breastfeeding counsellor programme, enrol in their training course. This training will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective support to other mothers. The training programme may cover topics such as breastfeeding physiology, counselling techniques, problem-solving strategies, and community resources. Upon completion of the training, you may be required to undergo an accreditation process.

Sometimes the NHS has slightly different requirements to a breastfeeding charity.  So if working within the NHS is something you’d like to do, check out your local trust for guidance. 

To gain practical experience and further develop your skills as a breastfeeding counsellor, consider volunteering with local breastfeeding support groups or organisations. This hands-on experience will allow you to interact with mothers, observe breastfeeding sessions, and provide support under the guidance of experienced peer supporters. Actively participating in support groups will deepen your understanding of common breastfeeding challenges and enable you to offer valuable insights and assistance to mothers.

As a breastfeeding counsellor, it is crucial to stay updated on the latest research and developments in breastfeeding support. Attend workshops, conferences, and webinars related to breastfeeding and lactation. Engage in continuing education opportunities to enhance your knowledge and skills, ensuring that you provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to the mothers you support. Some providers may offer ongoing free CPD, if not factor in these costs for your new future. 

Finding the right training provider to become a breastfeeding counsellor

  1. Accreditation: Ensure that the training provider is accredited by relevant professional bodies, such as City & Guilds or the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).

  2. Curriculum: Review the curriculum to ensure it covers all essential aspects of breastfeeding counselling, including both theory and practical training.

  3. Mentorship: Look for programmes that offer mentorship and supervised practice to gain real-world experience.

  4. Supportive Community: A strong support system and access to a community of experienced counsellors can be invaluable during training and beyond.

Why Choose Antenatal Training International?

With us, you will undergo extensive training and gain internationally recognised qualifications so that you will become a professional in your own right. This allows you to earn an income and build your own business based on your skills and customer service, because we believe you deserve to be paid for your expertise. 

We agree wholeheartedly that  parents should be able to access any maternity and breastfeeding support they need without necessarily paying for it. However free services can psychologically diminish your expertise and the value of your services. Parents don’t always value free, and they won’t get the full benefit unless they feel as though they have invested. You are worthy of being invested in!

There are exceptions to this, one of which is the offering of services to vulnerable groups through BirthWorld CIC. As a CIC, BirthWorld can access funding and pass this directly to you to run support groups in a variety of topics (not just for breastfeeding) and get paid. In order to offer this service you will need to complete a 1001 days, Breastfeeding Counsellor or Lactation Consultant Diploma and join the Birth World community as a practitioner.

The other reason we don’t offer this as stand-alone training is down to a key topic – continuity of care. 

With so many different stages of training, the message will get confused. Think of it this way, Midwives are all trained under very strict rules dictating exactly what they learn. When a Parent experiences continuity of care, their outcomes, across the whole spectrum are enhanced. Therefore, we also need to offer continuity of care across all our services to enhance a parent’s journey and their outcomes where we can! Therefore it is better to have contact with just one fully qualified expert, rather than a whole host of different knowledge levels and services.

want to get started with a breastfeeding counsellor career?

Explore our Diploma Directory for the right career pathway for you. Our programmes are specifically designed to not only equip you with vocational skills in a fully interactive environment, but to empower you with the necessary tools to build your own successful business….

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