I haven't received training on breastfeeding. What should I do?

Although you will have covered breastfeeding as part of basic training, that may have been some time ago and new information and research evidence will have been available since then. It’s also likely that you will have learned about and developed the sort of communication skills which will enable you to engage women in meaningful conversations. Putting the two together with additional information about relationship building is the focus of the reviewed Baby Friendly standards and most facilities will now be considering this as they build their training programmes.

Speak to your line manager about your training needs. There may be training available locally which you can attend. Failing that you could check if there is funding available to support you to attend external training.

Why are practical skills reviews so important?

Many experienced Infant Feeding Co-ordinators pick out the importance of practical skills reviews (or clinical practices) as being the one thing that they’d wished they’d known back at the beginning. Also that it may be necessary to repeat practical skills reviews until both yourself and the member of staff are confident.

Practical skills reviews give an opportunity for:

  • The member of staff to recall and practice the skills and knowledge learnt in the teaching programme, thus making the link between theory and practice.
  • The Infant Feeding Co-ordinator to evaluate the teaching provided, audit the teaching programme and to clarify any points that may have been misinterpreted in the teaching programme.
  • Both member of staff and Infant Feeding Co-ordinator to feel confident of the member of staff’s practice with mothers.

Training is key, however it does not stand alone. It is important to train, then do practical skills reviews and audit using the Baby Friendly audit tool to see how the training has been interpreted (evaluation), amend the training if needed, and repeat the cycle, train, practical skills reviews, audit.

As Infant Feeding Co-ordinator I’m going on the Breastfeeding and Relationship-Building course. Is it worth anyone else from my Trust going too?

We would suggest that the key workers and anyone involved in the teaching and auditing programme should attend. This is to make it easier for you to ensure consistency and to take nothing for granted about anyone’s knowledge base.

I’ve got the workbook from the breastfeeding management course. Can I use it elsewhere?

You certainly can. It has been designed to be a useful resource and you are welcome to use it elsewhere, perhaps for teaching as long as:

  • you credit UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and
  • you do not earn any money out of using it.