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Core Competencies in Breastfeeding Care and Services for All Health Professionals


In order to establish and maintain breastfeeding, women need education and support from a knowledgeable health care community. Evidence-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes are lacking among health professionals in many disciplines. The volume of new information, advances in treatments and technologies, and health care system challenges, combined with the relative paucity of professional training in human lactation and breastfeeding, leave many providers without satisfactory answers for their patients.

These core competencies in breastfeeding care and services were developed to provide health professionals with a guideline and framework to integrate evidence-based breastfeeding knowledge, skills, and attitudes into their standard health care delivery practices.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee recommends that all health professionals possess the core competencies identified in this document in order to integrate breastfeeding care effectively and responsibly into current practice and thus provide effective and comprehensive services to mothers, children, and families.

Read commentary published in Nursing Outlook: "Core competencies in human milk and breastfeeding: Policy and practice implications for nurses."

Download the Core Competencies

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Implementation Survey

Endorsing Organizations*

  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Nursing
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of Birth Centers
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Breastfeeding Institute
  • American College of Nurse-Midwives
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians
  • American College of Physician Executives
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
  • Association of State & Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors
  • Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
  • Baby-Friendly USA
  • Baby Cafe USA
  • Best for Babes Foundation
  • The Bradley Method®
  • Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh
  • Breastfeeding USA
  • Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
  • Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Emergency Nurses Association
  • Every Mother, Inc.
  • FHI 360
  • Healthy Children Project
  • Human Milk Banking Association of North America
  • International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
  • International Childbirth Education Association
  • La Leche League International
  • Lamaze International
  • MomsRising
  • National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy: Research, Education, and Legal
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • National Breastfeeding Center
  • National Perinatal Association
  • National WIC Association
  • Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere
  • United States Lactation Consultant Association
  • Wellstart International
  • Women-Inspired Systems' Enrichment

 *Updated 6/5/2015

National Organizations: Endorse the Competencies here