AHS 20-Hour Breastfeeding eLearning Course: Breastfeeding Support Skills & Assessment


This module will help you to learn more about supporting the breastfeeding dyad relationship, cue-based feeding, and effective latching. You will also be introduced to the components of a breastfeeding assessment and will have the opportunity to practice your assessment skills through scenario-based learning. 


After completing this module, you will be equipped to:

  • Recognize inborn feeding instincts that support the breastfeeding relationship and cue-based feeding.
  • Identify approaches to breastfeeding support and indicate why certain approaches are beneficial for the breastfeeding relationship.
  • Identify the benefits of skin-to-skin care for the breastfeeding family.
  • Identify why it is useful for the breastfeeding parent to learn hand expression.
  • Identify how different breastfeeding positions may be helpful for the breastfeeding dyad.
  • Recognize the principles of an effective and comfortable latch.
  • Recognize the signs of effective and ineffective milk transfer.
  • Identify considerations and components of a breastfeeding assessment.
  • Recognize how room sharing facilitates cue-based feeding.
  • Identify the impact of breastfeeding on sleep and strategies to improve sleep for the breastfeeding dyad.
  • Recognize how breastfeeding impacts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
A note on inclusive terminology

Some individuals who lactate may not identify as mothers or women, but as parents, fathers, men, non-binary, or gender diverse. These individuals may not identify with the terms breast, breastmilk, and breastfeeding, and may instead identify with terms such as chest, chest milk or human milk, and chestfeeding or bodyfeeding. In all circumstances, health care professionals will utilize patient and family centered care to be responsive to the self-identified gender, pronouns, and terminology of the families they support.

This module uses both non-gendered and gendered terminology. Non-gendered terms (e.g., ‘parent’ or ‘individual’) are used, when possible, to be inclusive. Gendered terms (e.g., ‘mother’ and ‘woman’) are used to accurately reflect the literature being cited.

Note on scope of education modules

The information presented in this module is for educational purposes only. The aim of this education is to provide evidence-based information for health care professionals who work with breastfeeding families. Your facility, program, and/or AHS Zone policies, guidelines and procedures supersede any information presented in this module.

Note on scope of practice

The information presented in this module includes a range of diagnostic and treatment options. The health care professional is responsible to practice within the scope of their professional designation and training, according to the standards and guidelines set out by their regulatory college.

Note on sensitive communication 

Specific terminology used throughout this module (e.g., ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’) to convey precise meaning for educational purposes may not be appropriate to use during patient care interactions. The health care professional should employ a patient- and family-centred care approach to communicate the information presented in this module to the breastfeeding family in a way that is sensitive, appropriate, and understandable.

  • It is not recommended to access the online module on smartphones at this point as your learning experience might be compromised.
  • Make sure to perform all the interactive activities required in each topic, e.g. ‘click to …’ or quiz questions.
  • When you are done with all the activities in a Topic or Lesson page, click on the button at the bottom of the page. This is will automatically mark your activity as completed on that page and allow you to move to the next step.
  • ‘TAKE NOTES’: To make notes for your own use, click on ‘TAKE NOTES’ at the upper right corner of your screen to open the notes field. All the course notes you have made can be found in a full list in the page of ‘My Courses’.
  • ‘RESUME COURSE”: For the convenience of self-paced learning, you may exit the course at any point and come back later. When you log into the e-learning portal again, click on ‘RESUME COURSE’ button at the top of the page and you will be redirected to where you left last time.
  • Certificate of Completion / CME Certificate: Once you have completed the module, you will find the ‘Download Certificate’ button available at the top of this page. You may choose to print it or download it as PDF document.
  • Return to this module overview page: When you are in the module, you may come back to this page by clicking on the ‘Course Home’ link at the top of the COURSE NAVIGATION sidebar, at the right side of each page.

This one-credit-per-hour Self-Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by the University of Calgary Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development for up to 1.5 Mainpro+ credits.

This activity is an Accredited Self-Assessment Program (Section 3) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by University of Calgary Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development. You may claim a maximum of 1.5 hours (credits are automatically calculated).

You may also perform Linking Learning exercises around a question you ask yourself as a result of learning from this program at: http://www.cfpc.ca/Linking_Learning_exercises/. Each completed Linking Learning exercise earns up to five Mainpro+ certified credits.

Accredited Royal College MOC Section 1 and Section 3 credits are eligible for certified Mainpro+ credits, up to a maximum of 50 credits per five-year cycle; any additional credits are eligible as non-certified Mainpro+ credits. MOC Section 3 accredited activities can be claimed at 3 credits per hour up to the cycle maximum.

Professional Development & Continuing Competence Program

After you finish this module, you will be able to download the certificate of completion for professional development and Continuing Competence Program (CPP) purposes.

If you are an AHS employee, you may also record completion of this course in AHS MyLearningLink. Log into MyLearningLink using your AHS user name and password. Click on My Information and Grades and record your completion of this module under External Learning Events.

Material presented are in compliance with the University of Calgary Copyright Policy, Acceptable Use of Material Protected by Copyright.

Course materials are for individual use only and not to be distributed.

  • This course has received no commercial sponsorship support.
  • This course was co-developed with AHS Early Years Health Promotion team and was planned to achieve scientific integrity, objectivity and balance.
  • Faculty/PC disclosures:

Lynnea Knight (Chair)MPH, RNNothing to discloseAlberta Health Services
Bailey AdamsMD, CCFP, BSc, IBCLCNothing to discloseUniversity of Alberta, St. Albert & Sturgeon PCN
Lauren EastmanMD, CCFPCollege of Family Physicians of Canada, Examination Committee Member – Create examination questions for the CFPC Examination in Family Medicine;
University of Alberta Department of Family Medicine (internal funding): Received funding for the following activities: summer student funding for investigation of state of longitudinal primary care in the Edmonton zone, purchasing of gifts of thank you to clinical educators in family medicine, team building activities for the family medicine residency program team
University of Alberta
Sanjeev BhatlaMD, CCFPNothing to discloseFamily Medicine, Calgary Foothills PCN
Shawna LamondMD, CCFP, IBCLCHonoraria for presenting at a conference – Calgary Breastfeeding Matters GroupFamily Medicine, Calgary Foothills PCN
Sheila McDonaldCIHR funded grants as part of my adjunct Faculty appt and I am Co-PI of the All Our Families cohortManager, Early Years Health Promotion, AHS
Victoria MeahPhDNothing to discloseHealth Promotion Facilitator II, Early Years Health Promotion, AHS
Utkarsh SubnisPhD, MBBSNothing to discloseOffice of CME&PD University of Calgary
Kiyana MadaniBScNothing to discloseOffice of CME&PD University of Calgary

Lynnea Knight MPH RN (Chair)
Bailey Adams MD
Lauren Eastman CCFP
Sanjeev Bhatla MD CCFP
Shawna Lamond MD CCFP IBCLC
Sheila McDonald PhD
Victoria Meah PhD
Utkarsh Subnis PhD MBBS (CME Representative)
Kiyana Madani BSc (CME Representative)

AHS Early Years Health Promotion would like to thank all stakeholders across the maternal-child continuum of care who were involved in the development of this module.

For any tech issue you have in this module, please email the tech support team at ecme@ucalgary.ca.

For questions about the AHS 20-Hour Breastfeeding Course and related resources, please email the Early Years Health Promotion team at eyhp@ahs.ca.