BE06: Human Milk, Breastfeeding & the Preterm Infant

In this course, you will review in detail the specific nutritional, immunological, developmental and psychological needs of the preterm infant and the critical role of human milk to each of these. You will learn strategies to apply to your clinical practice which will facilitate the transition from fully supported medical care to full feeding.

Access Time:
1 month (starting from time of purchase)
Enrolling in more than 1 course? Time is cumulative ie buy 2 courses, have 2 months access to both courses
12 L CERPs / 12 Pre-exam education hours / 12 CHs
This course is facilitated by an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Well-constructed online learning gives you the best of both worlds - quality content that you can work through at your own pace, in your own place, but with a level of personal attention that even rivals face-to-face programs. And, you guessed it, Health e-Learning programs are the BEST of online learning with all these great features:

  • Log in when it suits you 24/7/365
  • Study at your own pace within your enrolment period
    • no formal deadlines, stressful exams or assignments
  • All reading provided or linked
  • Periodic testing of knowledge with fun self-test activities
  • Course facilitation by highly experienced IBCLC tutor
  • Gain valuable support and network with students from all over the world
  • Immediate feedback for final online assessment
    • certificate of completion issued immediately
  • Administrative and technical support available online


An advanced level of knowledge of breast anatomy, lactation physiology, biochemistry, immunology and the initiation of normal breast/chest feeding, with particular skills in supporting positioning and latching of the infant are strongly recommended. Completion of BreastEd courses BE01, 02, 03 and 04 would meet this prerequisite.
Also, an advanced knowledge of neonatal issues, particularly those encountered by the infant born preterm, is highly desirable. A current, quality textbook on this subject would support your learning.


  • Introduction
  • The Preterm Infant
    • Nutritional needs
    • Immunological needs
    • Developmental needs
    • Psychological needs
  • Mothering/parenting the Preterm Infant
    • Supporting the maternal/lactating parental role
    • Kangaroo mother care (KMC)
    • Initiation of lactation
    • Maintenance of lactation
    • From tube to breast
  • When a baby dies


An active forum, where topical issues may be raised, case studies discussed, questions posed and answered, links to additional information provided, etc, is facilitated by an experienced IBCLC and is an integral part of the course. Reading and participating in this forum will enhance your learning experience and that of your colleagues.

Reading Material

  • All required reading materials and resources are available online.
    • A quality, current lactation text is advisable to augment your studies. Please see our list of recommended resources for further information.
  • Participants are permitted to print one (1) copy of their course for personal use only.
    • If you do wish to print, please be aware that some courses are over 60 pages in length. Please be advised that links to articles and interactive activities are not available in the printed version.

Quality Assurance

  • Author: Denise Fisher, MMP, BN, IBCLC
  • Reviewed by subject matter expert: Sue Cox, IBCLC
  • All courses are reviewed annually, as well as being updated as new knowledge becomes available.
  • Course review and updates by Melanie Gringras, BScN, IBCLC, Kristina Palmer-Field, RN, RM, BA, IBCLC, and Carole Dobrich, B.Sc., RN, IBCLC 


To deepen your understanding about the specificity of human milk in meeting the nutritional, immunological, developmental and psychological needs of the preterm infant by providing you with recent, evidence-based information to assist the mother/lactating parent to provide milk, and eventually feed, their preterm infant.


On successful completion of this course you will be able to

  • describe the nutritional needs of the preterm infant, and compare these needs to the biochemistry of preterm human milk.
  • describe the immunological properties of preterm colostrum and mature milk and compare the outcomes of formula-fed and human milk-fed infants in terms of infectious diseases
  • compare the gastrointestinal and neurobiological outcomes of formula-fed and human milk-fed infants and explain the reasons for the differences
  • describe how the psychological needs of the preterm infant can be adequately met
  • describe how mothers/lactating parents have reported feeling in traditional neonatal intensive care units, then describe how a positive culture can be implemented
  • compare kangaroo mother care (KMC) with traditional incubator care on infant morbidity, cardio-respiratory stability, thermoregulation, breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, and length of hospital stay, and detail the steps necessary to implement KMC in a neonatal intensive care unit
  • describe the process necessary for lactation initiation that will facilitate lactation success
  • describe how to maintain an adequate lactation in terms of hand expressing, pumping frequency and duration, pharmacological and non-pharmacological galactagogues and storage of human milk
  • list the points to evaluate oral motor competence and list measures to decrease oral aversion
  • discuss 3 methods reported in the literature on how to transition to full oral feedings
  • describe how to cup feed an infant and how cup feeding and bottle feeding compare in terms of cardio-respiratory stability and nutritional intake.
  • describe the management of the lactational aspects of care of the mother/lactating parent whose infant has died.


Achievement of the learning objectives is assessed by automatically graded, online, multiple-choice questions. A passing grade is 85%.

A Workbook, downloaded from the course, is not required to be submitted, but completion will aid learning and provide an excellent resource.

On successfully completing this course, you will be able to download, save and print your Certificate of Completion. Your Certificate will note ongoing education accreditation points.


On successful completion of this course you will be awarded:

  • 12 L CERPs*
  • 12 Professional Development Education hours*
  • 12 CHs*
*Please see our Accreditation table for the most up-to-date accreditation numbers

For IBLCE examination preparation, this course provides 12 pre-exam education hours.

Do we offer CEUs? Need other types of accreditation? Please see our Accreditation FAQ for more information.


  1. This course is facilitated by an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
  2. The course is available as a one-month subscription commencing on the day of notification to you of your username and password.
  3. The subscription time is cumulative - for example, if you purchase 8 courses - you receive 8 months' access to all 8 courses.
  4. The subscription time may be extended by purchasing extensions, but must be purchased before the subscription expiry date.
  5. The average time taken to complete this course and the assessment is 12 hours.
  6. On successful completion, your Certificate will be available to you in pdf format from the course website.
  7. Replacement certificates can be obtained for a fee, however we maintain an official transcript that is available free for all customers to download at any time.

Fees and Payments

  • Enrollments are accepted online, or upon receipt of a faxed or mailed enrollment form (available on request).
  • Payments online are available via credit cards through either PSiGate or PayPal gateways.
  • The cost is US$135.00 per course.
  • Additional fees, that are out of our control, may be charged by your bank to convert this to your local currency.
  • Please see our Payments FAQ for more information.

Refunds and Privacy

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information regarding refunds and our Privacy Policy is also available.