The breastfeeding specialist certification (BSC) program was designed to combine ongoing continuous emotional and physical support strategies with breastfeeding knowledge and techniques. The program trains childbirth professionals to provide hospital and in-home breastfeeding support during the first weeks of a newborn’s life when exclusive breastfeeding is most at risk.
The breastfeeding specialist fills the the current gap in available breastfeeding support services. Women during the early postpartum period are not always able to conveniently leave home and go to an office appointment to obtain breastfeeding help. Although some lactation consultants may make home visits to assist moms having difficulty breastfeeding, the appointments are often two hours or less, which is not always enough time to overcome issues. Women may feel hopeful during an appointment, but then struggle with the next feeding at home and get discouraged. Additionally, breastfeeding challenges commonly happen in the middle of the night and during the early mornings, when most breastfeeding professionals or lactation consultants are unavailable.
Breastfeeding specialists support women and are available whenever a breastfeeding mom is in need. The BSC just like a doula provides blocks of continuous time to assist a family and mother with breastfeeding. They help the mother and baby feeding by feeding until things improve and the mother feels more confident; this is intensive support.
As one study with the beginning title “She would sit with me” pointed out, moms with new babies gain confidence, receive empowerment, and benefit from having breastfeeding support from a trained individual that provides lengthy in home visits.¹
- Nankunda, J., Tumwine, J. K., Nankabirwa, V., & Tylleskär, T. (2010). “She would sit with me”: mothers’ experiences of individual peer support for exclusive breastfeeding in Uganda. International Breastfeeding Journal, 516-28. doi:10.1186/1746-4358-5-16