What's an IBCLC and Why You Should Partner with One!
Updated: Jul 2
Did you know the IBCLC credential is the highest level of breastfeeding support and the only internationally recognized certification for lactation professionals?
There are many levels of breastfeeding support including Lactation Counselors, Peer Counselors, La Leche League Leaders, doulas and lactation educators. All support lactating families but have very pathways and Scope of Practice. Because of the intense education requirements, professional standards and expert-level clinical experience required to achieve board certification, the IBCLC credential is considered the Gold Standard.
What is an IBCLC?
The IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a healthcare professional that has specialized in the clinical management of breastfeeding and lactation. The IBCLC achieves board-certification from the IBLCE (international board of lactation consultant examiner’s) and the process is rigorous!
How the IBCLC achieves initial certification:
✅Completes 14 college level courses
✅Completes 95 hours of lactation-specific education
✅Performs 300-1000 hands-on clinical lactation hours
✅Agrees and adheres to Code of Professional Conduct
✅Successfully passes a 175 question board exam on topics such as anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and infant development.
Only after all of the above requirements are met can the professional identify him or herself as an IBCLC. The process typically takes years from the initial preparation phase to approval for Board exam. Once certified, the IBCLC is required to re-certify every 5 years with continued lactation education and/or taking the Board exam again. It's a long road and the learning never ends. When you choose IBCLC care, you can rest assured that your lactation care provider is truly dedicated to the field, committed to evidence-based practice and in it for the long haul!
What and IBCLC can do for you:
✅Perform an assessment of and your baby (including breast assessment and oral assessment if indicated)
✅Provide hands-on support for positioning, latch, pumping, etc.
✅Identify and manage a variety of lactation issues
✅Assist with common lactation pitfalls like low milk supply, pain, mastitis and sore nipples
✅Teach practical skills such as hand expression, breast massage, paced-bottle feeding, pumping, etc
✅Collaborate with all members of the healthcare team
✅Empower you to establish your own feeding goals
If you are lactating in any capacity (or thinking about it), an IBCLC is a critical member of your team. Even when things are going well, it’s great to have a go-to person you can count on if needs or questions arise. When you choose an IBCLC you are choosing expert-level support for all stages in your lactation journey! There is no substitute and you deserve the best.
IBCLC’s can work with you if you are:
✅Partially formula feeding
✅Using a supplemental nursing system
✅Thinking about breastfeeding
As an IBCLC with over 25 years experience caring for families, I can assure when you partner with me, you will receive expert-level care. I utilize a problem-solving approach, perform a comprehensive assessment, provide a personalized care plan and respect your unique feeding and lactation goals. Contact me for any questions and feel free to book now if you are ready to get started!
IBCLCs Make the Difference from USLCA