What is a Certified Lactation Consultant?

What is a Certified Lactation Consultant?

There are many people that assist with breastfeeding care and support in the community. Including peer counselors, La Leche League, and breastfeeding educators. All are integral in the success of breastfeeding. What makes an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) different? An IBCLC is the only internationally recognized healthcare professional that specializes in lactation care. They have gone through specific courses related to lactation, achieved thousands of hours working with breastfeeding mothers and complete a rigorous exam process. They also have to keep their license current every 5 years by continuing education or re-taking the exam. IBCLC’s work in many different capacities including hospitals, clinics, government agencies, insurance companies, and private practice offices. They work under a Scope of Practice and abide by ethical standards to meet the needs of a variety of situations.

Why would I need to talk to a Certified Lactation Consultant?

There are many reasons to talk to a lactation consultant before or after delivery. A prenatal appointment can ease your mind in many ways. It can provide valuable information to use immediately after delivery, in the hospital and in the weeks following at home. It can address specific concerns that you might have, go over your medical history in relation to breastfeeding as needed, and with so much information surrounding us- it can help sort out what is accurate and what is not.

After delivery there may or may not be complications related to feedings. Many mothers just want to make sure everything is okay. Sometimes, having a person to be there and give support and reassurance is all that is needed to be successful. Other times, there are situations where making a specific plan for breastfeeding is warranted. Some examples are:

Painful latching
Prevention & Management of Engorgement
Previous breast surgery
Preterm baby
Slow weight gain
Going back to breast after bottle
Blocked Ducts or Mastitis
Yeast Infection
Pain in the breast(s)
Low milk supply or perceived low milk supply
Education of milk expression, hand expression or pumping