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Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

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This distance learning course underpins the maternity and community best practice standards set by UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative UK. The unit has been designed to help you evaluate and challenge breastfeeding practice and provide you with an opportunity for reflection and to consider your own personal practice and attitudes to breastfeeding.

This course is suitable for qualified midwives, nurses, health visitors and other allied health professionals that have a role in supporting women to breast feed (either in the community or hospital).

This unit is available at Level 5, 6 or 7.  

Key information

Next start date:

April 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


Flexible to your needs, the course can take between 3 and 6 months

Entry requirements:

This course is suitable for midwives, nurses, health visitors and other allied health professionals.

Course details

Having completed this unit, you will be able to examine practitioner’s roles and responsibilities in relation to the support for breastfeeding women and analyse practices that influence the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.

You will also be able to analyse the evidence that supports the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative in order to apply best practice standards in the workplace. In addition, you will analyse support for breastfeeding women considering women’s individual physical, sociocultural and psychological needs. You will learn to explore ideas from various perspectives in order to consider changing professional practice that will enhance support for breastfeeding women.

This 20 credit unit requires approximately 200 hours to complete. It uses a distance learning approach with the course delivered entirely online with no attendance at the university necessary. In addition to the online course you will be expected to engage in direct practice supporting breastfeeding mothers and babies in your own clinical area. You can access support via  tutorial either online, Skype, FaceTime or phone. 

This unit will be taught through a distance learning approach and this is where the course is delivered entirely online with no attendance at the university necessary. The online course requires you to work on a fully functioning computer with video and audio functions and broadband with reasonable download speed.

Central to the course is BU’s virtual leaning environment (myBU) and this provides you with access to all the resources you need to help you make the most of your studies.

In addition, you will be able to access discussion forums where you can share experiences and questions with other professionals, as well as the academic team. The academic team will also be on hand during your course to provide tutorial support through a range of technologies such as, Skype, email and instant messaging.

A web based package will be pivotal in guiding your learning and assessment and will include:

  • Watching video clips of real women’s experiences of breastfeeding
  • Analysing and reflecting on practice-based issues
  • Reading and critiquing related literature
  • Online discussion and debate with peers
  • Individual tutorial support using current available technologies such as Skype, email, instant messenger.

Download the level 5 unit specification

Download the level 6 unit specification.

Download the level 7 unit specification.

Course Dates

  • April 2018 start: 23 April 

Entry requirements

Normally students may enter Level 5/6 study if they have been awarded:

  • An Advanced Diploma, HND, Dip HE or Foundation Degree (awarded by a UK HEI or Edexcel or SQA)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 5.

Normally students may enter Level 7 postgraduate) study if they have been awarded:

  • Undergraduate degree (Honours or non-honours)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 6.

If you do not meet this criteria you are still able to apply for this unit but we may ask you to complete a study skills handbook to familiarise yourself with academic writing at Master's degree level. The study skills handbook will be sent to you when we have received your application form.

IT and System Requirements

As the course is delivered totally online, we would expect you to have access to a computer which has internet access for the duration of the course. Due to the nature of the online resources you will be using (such as video clips) it is recommended that you have a Broadband internet connection.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements, for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2017/18 are £750

For individuals

You will need to pay or indicate employer support of payment for unit or course fees to the university.

Applicants working within the NHS or other healthcare providers may be eligible for support with funding from their employer through the Learning Beyond Registration contract with the NHS South of England.

Applicants should contact their employing organisation for further details.

Information if you are self-funding

If you are funding the course or unit yourself or your employer is sponsoring you outside a contractual agreement, you will need to apply directly to the university.

Once you have been accepted onto a unit or course, you will be sent a payment form which must be completed and returned on or before enrolment. The form requires that payment be made in one of three ways:

  • By cheque for the full amount made payable to ‘Bournemouth University’
  • By giving details of a credit or debit card
  • By invoice to your employer or other sponsoring organisation.

Full details of the invoicing address and the name, signature and position of an authorised person must be provided. Please note that invoices cannot be raised for you if you are paying the fees.

It is possible for you to pay your fees in installments and fees must be paid either by credit or debit card.

For employers

Pre-purchased places

The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has contractual arrangements with NHS organisations for pre-paid places on specified modules including NHS South of England. If you work within Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight you may be able to access the pre-paid places. These arrangements allow NHS Trusts to nominate the staff they wish to send on each unit or course.

The pre-arranged agreements allow individuals, such as yourself, a route to access appropriate professional development opportunities that are seen as strategically important to your organisation (in consultation with your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator). Applications for these places are dealt with through your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator and they will arrange for you to complete the relevant paperwork and application form. All application forms for pre-paid places must be signed by your organisation’s Education Lead.


Our CPD unit fees have already been discounted based on our Employers’ Scholarship Scheme, as such these units are not eligible for the Early payment discount and BU graduate discount.   

How to apply

In the first instance you should talk to your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator to understand if there are any contractual arrangements in place and whether your chosen course or unit of study can be funded via this route.

If this situation applies to you, you must submit your completed application form via your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator, who will forward it to the University.

If you are funding the course or unit of study yourself or your employer is sponsoring you (outside any contractual arrangement), please submit your completed application form directly to the university.

You can download an application form by clicking on the ‘apply now’ icon above. Simply fill it in and return it to us.

Please note: In some cases, we may ask you to provide additional references but we will advise you of this once you have submitted your application form.

Please contact our Future Students Enquiry Team if you have any questions. 

Career development

We have a range of individual units at Levels 5, 6 and 7 available which you can choose from to develop your skills in a specific area of practice. If you take further units of study you can begin to build your own qualification and gain an academic award for your work, depending on your level of study this may be:

  • BSc/ BSc (Hons) Professional Practice (level 5/6)- if you have a Diploma or Advanced Diploma you can take this course to top-up to a full degree
  • Graduate Certificate/ Graduate Diploma Professional Practice (level 5/6)- If you have an honours degree and wish to expand your sphere of professional practice without moving to Master's level study you can choose study 40 credits to gain a Graduate Certificate or 80 credits to gain a Graduate Diploma
  • MA Advanced Practice (level 7)- If you have an honours degree and are aspiring to be an advanced practitioner, this route enables you to work towards a Master's degree award. Depending on how many level 7 units you complete, you can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice; see the course diagram for more information. 

These options provide a flexible route to gaining a Bachelors or Master's degree by studying in more manageable ‘bite-sized’ chunks.

Additional information

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