BE10: Breastfeeding and Public Health

Public health concerns itself with population-level interventions to improve the health and well-being of society as a whole. In this course, we will explore the field of public health as it applies to improving infant and maternal health through the application of infant feeding recommendations.

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
6.5 L, 4 E, 1.5 R CERPs / 12 pre-exam education hours (IBLCE) / 12 CHs
This course is tutored by an experienced Lactation Consultant.

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


A sound knowledge of the detrimental effect of infant formula on babies and mothers. Completion of BE01: Breastmilk: Composition and Function would achieve this.


  1. Breastfeeding and public health
    • Definition of public health as different from health care in general
    • Acute, preventative and public health as complementary parts of a whole
    • Introduce concept population-based health
    • Upstream vs. downstream approaches in public health & breastfeeding specifically
    • Definition of a “wicked problem”
  2. Breastfeeding in the domains of public health
    • Applying the domains of public health to breastfeeding:
    1. Epidemiology/biostatistics
    2. Behavioural science
    3. Environmental health & enforcement
    4. Health services management & administration
  3. Individual vs. population-based principles
    • Why breastfeeding is best supported population-based interventions & how these work in practice
  4. Social determinants of health
    • How public health has adopted an SDOH lens and why this is particularly impactful in breastfeeding promotion and protection
    • ACE study outcomes
    • Racial & social inequalities
  5. Health Policy: the BFI Initiative
    • Short history of BFI, evidence base for effectiveness & challenges with BFI.
    • Discuss community BFI and extensions of BFI concept to medical practices, city and other.
  6. Public Policy: The International Code
    • Rationale and short history of the Code’s creation and development over 35+ years
    • Examples of predatory practices on infant feeding outcomes
    • Impacts of the Code where it has been implemented at national scale and within organizations
  7. S.O.S.: Breastfeeding in Emergencies
    • Global guidance on IYCF-E
    • Protection of breastfeeding alongside responsible management of substitutes
    • Significant role for public health in this cross-cutting area
  8. Emerging controversies
    • Concurrent over- and under-nutrition as a result of poor infant and young child-feeding
    • Milk-sharing and milk selling on the local and global scale
    • Placental encapsulation
  9. A way forward
    • Review breastfeeding in MDGs and SDGs
    • How breastfeeding alleviates inequality & suffering
    • Return to the concept of “wicked problems” and their solution as a collaborative, long-term investments


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 Lactation Consultant and is an integral part of the course. Reading this forum and contributing to it will enhance your learning 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 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 of original version: Michelle Pensa Branco, MPH IBCLC
    Editor: Carole Dobrich, BS, RN, IBCLC
    Reviewed by: Carole Dobrich, BS, RN, IBCLC, Melanie Gingras, BScN, IBCLC, Jennifer Welch, IBCLC, Swati Scott, RD, IBCLC
  • Courses are reviewed annually, as well as having new information added when it becomes known.


The aim of this course is to help you understand how public health provides a unique and important lens through which to apply their lactation education and how breastfeeding contributes to the improvement of health at the population level. Real-world applications, that you can expect to come across in your own work, will be reviewed.


On successful completion of this course the student will be able to

  • Contrast public health with health care generally
  • Define an upstream approach
  • Describe three characteristics of a “wicked problem”
  • State the four main areas within the field of public health
  • Describe one way in which breastfeeding uses epidemiological science
  • Provide one example of how environmental health might include breastfeeding/lactation considerations
  • Evaluate whether an intervention is individual- or population-based
  • Describe one population-based intervention
  • Explain why population-based approaches increase equity
  • Describe three determinants that fall under the social determinants of health
  • Provide one example of an ACE (adverse childhood event)
  • Provide one example of a challenge facing BFI
  • State one source for evidence in support of BFI
  • Illustrate one example of BFI beyond the hospital setting
  • Define the products that are covered by the Code
  • Provide one example of predatory marketing of products covered by the Code
  • Define the concept of “cross-cutting” area
  • State one key documents used in global guidance
  • Describe one way in which breastmilk substitutes are managed in an emergency setting
  • Explain the responsibility of public health practitioners in keeping up to date on emerging issues
  • Define the “double burden” of nutrition
  • Define MDG and SDG
  • Illustrate the global nature of breastfeeding solutions with examples from the developing and developed world


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:

  • 6.5 L, 4 E, 1.5 R CERPs*
  • 12 CH
*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 using either Credit Cards or PayPal gateway.
  • 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.