Infant feeding support competencies


The purpose of the Infant Feeding Support Competencies Framework is to identify shared knowledge and skills, and unique characteristics of roles within the UK infant feeding support workforce.

This Framework sets out the range of knowledge, skills and attributes required by the workforce. The competencies are also mapped against the following five different roles or groups of similar roles within this workforce:

  • breastfeeding peer supporters
  • breastfeeding counsellors
  • IBCLCs (lactation consultants)
  • health professionals (trained to BFI standards)
  • infant feeding support workers/ employed peer supporters.

We hope this will help to increase understanding of the differences and also to highlight strengths, potential gaps, and opportunities for strengthening infant feeding support services and collaboration in the UK. We intend this to lead to better commissioning and provision of skilled, timely and appropriate support for mothers who wish to breastfeed.


The documents were produced by an expert working group on behalf of the Breastfeeding Alliance.

Our aims are for the competency framework to be used as a tool:

  • To increase understanding and recognition of the value of the whole infant feeding workforce.
  • To create clarity around the knowledge, skills and clinical competencies expected of those in infant feeding support roles.
  • To set out the range of competencies required to address the diversity of needs.
  • To aid commissioning decisions on the design of services that are integrated and responsive to family and community needs 
  • To facilitate the development of a comprehensive range of infant feeding support services through better planning and provision, in order to reduce health inequalities and increase workforce diversity.
  • To increase the accessibility of timely support and consistency of care for women and families.

Using the Competencies Framework

We anticipate that this framework will be a tool used by organisations and individuals to assess their own competencies and identify their unique characteristics, and training and development needs.

There are two versions, one comparing roles, Role comparison, and the other,  For individual assessment, to be downloaded and used by individuals and organisations to assess competencies to help develop the workforce. Click on the images below to access the documents.

Hard copies are available on request (P&P £5); UK only.

Please let us know how you use the documents (free text, 500 word limit) through the surveys under each document.

We invite comments and intend to review the document in 2024.

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