The ABA website states:
"Breastfeeding counsellors are all trained volunteers. All have breastfed at least one baby for at least nine months and undertaken the ABA breastfeeding counsellor training course to qualify. Counsellors provide counselling and breastfeeding information to any person seeking help. Counsellors are continually updating their breastfeeding knowledge and counselling skills.
ABA breastfeeding counsellors are all volunteers. Counsellors are not medically trained and so can not give medical advice. Their area of expertise is breastfeeding management."
And as I have written elsewhere on this blog:
"Unfortunately breastfeeding in our society is seen as a feeding choice for mothers, rather than as the norm, that it is, for babies. As such Western women do not necessarily grow up watching their relatives and friends breastfeed, and when their own time comes they may not have access to wise and experienced breastfeeding mothers to support them as they learn. Breastfeeding counsellors are now available to fill this gap."
Thus far I have completed "Promote and represent the organisation" and have completed the workbooks (but not yet completed the assessments) for "Foster and promote an inclusive learning culture" and "Ensure a healthy and safe learning environment". Each unit has a workbook which is over 50 pages long. It contains reading material and activities for students to complete (but not submit to anyone for assessment). When the workbook is complete students can then do the assessment tasks set for the unit and once their assessment has been graded "competent" they can move on to the next unit.
The ABA has an online web hub where students can join discussions, study groups, meet other trainees and chat to trainers and assessors about their course. For those of us lucky enough to live near one of the ABAs locally based groups there are also training meetings in which trainees work through the workbook activities and discuss the course with their assessors and trainers in person.
"Promote and represent the organisation" involves learning how to apply the ABA's ethics, policies and image to volunteer work, promoting the ABA, fostering relationships and networking and evaluating promotion of the ABA. This is the only unit I have completed so far, and my assessment was returned with a glowing evaluation, so I'm very pleased.
"Ensure a healthy and safe learning environemnt" is the occupational health and safety unit of the course. I was reluctant to do it at first because OHS immediately brings to mind boredom and fuddy-duddiness, but it has had quite an impact on me and my everyday life. I thought I would struggle to remember information from the workbook, but I find it has really stuck with me and I notice OHS issues everywhere now! I've almost completed the assessment taks for this unit and what I have already done on it has been well received by my mentor and assessor.
"Foster and promote an inclusive learning culture" focused on inclusivity and diversity and how they relate to learning. I haven't started the assessment for this unit because it is a group activity, which I will be doing with the other trainees in my group in June. This unit teaches students how to practice inclusivity, promote and respond to diversity, develop techniques for supporting inclusive learning methods, and how to improve work practices. I have found this to be the most interesting unit so far.
I have also started the workbook for "Communicate using technology". This unit ensures all trainees are able to communicate, collaborate and organise using electronic resources. I'm told by a trainee further ahead than me that for someone who uses the internet and computers as often as me, it is quite a simple unit.
Please ring the ABA's 24/7 toll free helpline on 1800 MUM 2 MUM (1800 686 2 686).