Globally, nearly 1 million infant deaths from gastrointestinal and respiratory infections and 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer could be prevented if mothers breastfed for at least 6 months (Victora et al., 2016). Three out of four women in the United States (US) fail to breastfeed successfully, predisposing these women to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart attacks (Bartick et al., 2017; CDC, 2018). Infants fed formula are at a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and necrotizing enterocolitis, a deadly gastrointestinal infection.(CDC, 2018), (Victora et al., 2016) Low maternal breastfeeding self-efficacy and inadequate support from healthcare providers are key reasons for premature breastfeeding cessation(McFadden et al., 2017; Morrison et al., 2019; Stuebe et al., 2014). 

Nearly all health professional organizations (ABM, AAP, AFP, WHO, NAPNAP) recognize the importance of supporting and promoting breastfeeding. In fact, the Academy of Breastfeeding and the American Academy of Pediatrics have developed courses to ensure that physicians are prepared to provide skilled, timely breastfeeding support to patients. 

According to the United States Breastfeeding Coalition, all healthcare providers should have the following skills and knowledge: 

USBC’s Core Competencies in Breastfeeding Care and Services for All Health Professionals

Knowledge

All health professionals should understand:

  • Basic anatomy and physiology of lactation
  • How human milk prevents disease and illness•Why exclusive breastfeeding matters•How pregnancy and birth practices influence breastfeeding
  • Societal and cultural factors influencing breastfeeding
  • Risks of formula feeding
  • Contraindications to breastfeeding
  • When and how to refer for lactation services
  • Resources for families
  • Role of formula company marketing

Skills

All health professionals should be able to:

  • Protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in their practice
  • Complete a lactation health history and be aware of factors that could influence breastfeeding
  • Refer and seek assistance from lactation professionals
  • Protect confidentiality
  • Use new technologies to ensure evidence-based practice

On-Demand Telesimulation™ is designed to prepare maternal-child healthcare providers to prevent, manage, and improve common breastfeeding conditions by building mastery in supporting patients through telehealth. It covers all the same foundational topics covered by the AAP and ABM courses and allows providers to practice their skills and become truly prepared for virtual patient encounters