BFHI states that all health workers who care for women and children during the postnatal period and beyond have a key role to play in establishing and sustaining breastfeeding. Many health workers cannot fulfil this role effectively because they have not been trained to do so. Little time is assigned to communication and support skills for breastfeeding and infant feeding, in the pre-service curricula of either doctors, nurses, midwives or other health-care professionals.
Hence, there is an urgent need to train all those involved in breastfeeding in the immediate postnatal period in the skills needed to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have recently released an extensive training curricula in accordance with the 2018 revision of the Ten Steps. The development of this training curriculum was coordinated by the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nutrition Section, Programme Division.
The document is intended for educators and could be beneficial for Australian maternity facilities, especially those which are large enough to have a staff education department. Similarly the university sector could include this as part of their nursing and/or midwifery education program.
The course materials are intended to be conducted in their entirety, however the course is organised in such a way that the course trainers can decide which of the modules and sessions they wish to cover, depending on the priorities and context of the facility, and the participants. The material could be used, for example, to hold a three-day course on the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding, or courses on specific subjects, such as breastfeeding basics or breastfeeding support to strengthen the participants’ existing knowledge and skills.
The materials in this training course are designed to make it possible for trainers to conduct up-to-date and effective training for staff working in facilities providing care and services for pregnant women and their newborn babies. The training materials are designed with comprehensive instructions to enable trainers, including those with limited experience in teaching the subject, to prepare adequately and build the capacity of the participants of this course.
*Whilst effective and comprehensive, it is not necessarily the only way to provide staff education.