AHS 20-Hour Breastfeeding eLearning Course: Introduction to Breastmilk and Breastfeeding


Are you new to breastfeeding support or need a refresher on breastfeeding anatomy, physiology, nutrition, health benefits, and safety? This 2-hour module will provide you with foundational knowledge on these topics from evidence-based, patient and family centred care, and Informed Feeding Decisions perspectives.

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.

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 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 diagnostics and treatments. 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’, ‘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.

Additional module resources:

AHS Breastfeeding Education



Looking for up-to-date COVID-19 information on breastfeeding that you can share with families? Click here for information for expectant and new parents.

Find the latest COVID-19 updates for AHS staff and health care professionals in Alberta here.


After completing this module, you will be equipped to identify:

  • The anatomy and functions of the lactating breast
  • The physiology of lactation and how breastmilk is produced
  • The anatomy and functions of infant oral structures
  • The components and stages of breastmilk
  • What micronutrient supplementation is needed for healthy term infants
  • The nutritional needs of the breastfeeding parent
  • The strengths and weaknesses of breastfeeding evidence
  • The health benefits of breastfeeding for women and infants/children
  • Considerations for safe breastfeeding
  • Resources that support informed feeding decisions for safe breastfeeding
  • When breastfeeding may be contraindicated and appropriate follow-up care
  • It is not recommended to access the online module on smartphones at this point as your learning experience might be compromised.
  • Make sure performing all the interactive activities required in each topic, e.g. ‘click to …’ or quiz questions.
  • “MARK COMPLETE”: When you go through the module the first time, you will notice the “MARK COMPLETE” button in the pages. Make sure clicking on it when you reach the bottom of a page. Please note it won’t allow you to move to the next lesson before you complete all the topics in a lesson. After you complete the whole module, the “MARK COMPLETE” will not be there anymore when you revisit the content.
  • ‘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 LEARNING”: For the convenience of self-paced learning, you may exit from the middle of the course and come back later. When you log into the e-learning portal again, click on ‘RESUME LEARNING’, 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 ‘Print Your 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 module title at the bottom of the COURSE NAVIGATION widget, following ‘Return to’ in orange color.

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 2.0 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 2.0 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 username 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.