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Friday, January 11, 2013

Want to be a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor?

At the outset, let me emphasize that you don't need to be a breastfeeding counselor in order to help mothers.  I previously shared about empowering moms and setting up a support group in your locality. Read more about that HERE.

During the early days, moms usually need support and hand holding to face the breastfeeding challenges.  Especially if the family is not supportive, having a group to talk to or ask questions will definitely help the mom succeed.  More often than not, the moms just need a sounding board rather than

In any case, several readers have emailed me asking how to become a breastfeeding peer counselor.  So I decided to compile all the information I have and share with interested moms.



L.A.T.C.H.
I was trained by LATCH - a counseling group manned by peer counselors who are moms.  LATCH was established in 2006.  I am part of the 2nd group of counselors, trained in 2009.  The 3rd batch of counselors was trained in 2011.  According to our Training Head Sylvia Malabanan, another training will be scheduled sometime in the middle of this year.  
You can read the requirements to become a LATCH counselor here.  The requirements for the future counselors will most likely be the same.  To be a counselor, there is an 18-hour classroom session plus exams and shadowing a LATCH counselor.

Fabella Hospital
Aside from being the pioneer in kangaroo mother care, did you know that Fabella Hospital also has a 40-hour lactation training program?  The staff of the lactation units of The Medical City and St. Luke's Global City were all trained in Fabella Hospital.  If you are a big group, you can as that a special class or session be organized for you.  If you are just one or two interested individuals, you can join their regular scheduled training programs.  For details, call Fabella Milk Bank at 7338536 or 734-5561 to 65 local 156 (for the milk bank) and ask about the breastfeeding counselor training organized by Dr. Star Olonan.

Arugaan
Just recently, Arugaan, through Velvet Escario Roxas, has opened its doors to conducting peer counselor trainings outside the communities it serves.  For the past years, Arugaan's expertise lie in training community peer counselors.  As I previously shared, they have trained about 5,000 peer counselors in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao!
Late last year, I found out that Alex of Mommy Sense wanted to conduct a peer counselor training in Davao City to increase the number of trained peer counselors. I hooked her up with Velvet and as they say.. the rest is history!  You can read about the training in Anne's (one of the participants) blog.  Velvet is recently conducting a small group training now in Quezon City.  Do contact Velvet via email if you can form a group and want to get training.  Please note however that there is a time commitment - training is about 3 half-days of about 3-4 hours per day.  The classes include lactation massage, breastfeeding basics, how to help moms position, latch, etc.

The Breastfeeding Clinic
Run by IBCLCs Nona Andaya-Castillo and Elvira Henares-Esguerra, the Philippine Lactation Resource and Training Center also conducts training and accredits breastfeeding peer counselors. Babymama's Mi'Ann Oblea was trained through the PLRTC.  You can obtain more information about the trainings they conduct and the schedules by calling PLDT Mobile: (632) 701-4430 SMART Mobile: +639198395555.  You can also visit their office at Rm 135, Hall B Makati Medical Center, No. 2 Amorsolo Street Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines 1229 (632) 8888-999 local 7135.

IBCLC
The Country Coordinator for IBCLCs in the Philippines is Dr. Grace Agrasada, an ambulatory pediatrician connected with the UP-PGH.  She previously conducted trainings for breastfeeding counselor and in fact, she was the one who certified Abbie Yabot as a "Certified Philippine Lactation Counselor".  To get more information on training, you can email Dr. Grace.

Know any other ways to get trained as a breastfeeding peer counselor? Share them in the comments!

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