Breasfeeding Curriculum

The Breastfeeding Curriculum


Breastfeeding is best for the health of infants, their families, and communities. As more parents choose to breastfeed, physicians need skills to support them. Being able to successfully handle any issue related to breastfeeding leads to a stronger doctor-patient bond and better health outcomes. When more breastfeeding families get the help they need, the more babies receive the optimal nutrition and immune protection to prevent many short and long-term adverse health outcomes. Breastfeeding can reduce health disparities right from the start of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics developed this Breastfeeding Curriculum for two reasons:

  1. Provide faculty resources to develop strong breastfeeding programs within educational settings

  2. Help all learners including medical residents, undergraduate students, family medicine physicians, pediatricians, obstetrics/gynecologists, internal medicine providers, and preventative medicine providers develop confidence and skills in breastfeeding care. 

Get Started

This curriculum has been organized based on Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Core Competencies. Whether you, as a faculty member, implement a single activity, several pieces, or the entire program outlined, you are helping those interested in learning develop confidence and skills to help breastfeeding infants and mothers. 


The Breastfeeding Curriculum

  1. Medical Knowledge
    1. Goals: Learners will understand the anatomy of the breast, physiology or lactogenesis, and the challenges of breastfeeding
    2. Estimated Classroom Time: 2-5 hours
    3. Suggested Teaching Materials:
      1. Reference books Breastfeeding Handbook for Physicians & Breastfeeding: A Guide for Medical Professionals
      2. Manual and electric breast pumps
      3. Lectures and case studies on the topics (provide in this curriculum)
  2. Patient Care
    1. Goals: Learners will be able to teach breastfeeding families, provide peripartum care, and address common breastfeeding challenges
    2. Estimated Classroom Time: 2-5 hours
    3. Suggested Teaching Materials:
      1. Presentation and case studies (provided in this curriculum) 
      2. Clinical setting for learners to practice their education and counseling skills
  3. System Based Practice
    1. Goals: Learners will be able to support and advocate for policies which promote breastfeeding as the cultural norm in both the medical community and community at large. Additionally, learners will understand how to coordinate services and referrals. 
    2. Estimated Classroom Time: 2-5 hours
    3. Suggested Teaching Materials:
      1. Presentation on breastfeeding disparities and the systems of oppression impacting breastfeeding parents
    4. List of community and professional groups that promote breastfeeding
  4. Practice Based Learning
    1. Goals: Learners will educate themselves and others about breastfeeding
    2. Estimated Classroom Time: 1-2 hours
    3. Suggested Teaching Materials:
      1. Presentation on top reasons for discontinuing breastfeeding
  5. Interpersonal Communication Skills
    1. Goals: Learners will learn about cultural humility and how to provide culturally sensitive, humble, and effective breastfeeding care.
    2. Estimated Classroom Time: 1-2 hours
    3. Suggested Teaching Materials:
      1. Presentation on cultural humility
      2. Case studies on how culture impacts breastfeeding

Helpful Tools

The following tools are here to help faculty along the way as they implement the above curriculum.

Data Collection Tool
This Data Collection Tool will help you to collect breastfeeding data at your hospital at discharge and at 6 months.

Implementation Tool
This breastfeeding curriculum has been designed to be flexible and be able to be adapted into an existing curriculum. This Implementation Guide provides a step-by-step guide to starting your own curriculum.

Evaluation Tools
This curriculum has several evaluation tools faculty can use or adapt for their programs including pre/post tests and care evaluations.

Teaching Tools
This curriculum has several teaching tools faculty can use or adapt for their programs including case studies and prepared presentations.

More Breastfeeding Educational Resources
This curriculum is a great start for faculty looking to launch a robust breastfeeding focus to any curriculum. Here is a list of several other educational tools including books, online courses, journals, and conferences.

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