An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the only internationally certified healthcare professional in the management of breastfeeding. Requirements for an IBCLC include clinical practice experience in the management of breastfeeding as well as education in human lactation, breastfeeding, and general health sciences. An IBCLC must meet the international standard of practice every five years through continued education and clinical experience, and must write an international examination every ten years. Individuals who have taken a breastfeeding management course work as an adjunct to an IBCLC, but do not replace the expertise of an IBCLC. They work in collaboration with other health care professionals to ensure that a breastfeeding family has the support and assistance they need to reach their breastfeeding goals.
The status of a lactation consultant can be found on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners public registry https://iblce.org/public-registry/. To locate IBCLCs in your region you can use the international Lactation consultant Association’s “find a Lactation Consultant” feature http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc
An IBCLC adheres to a standard of practice and a code of ethics, and works within a defined scope of practice. As a clinical expert in the management of breastfeeding, an IBCLC is trained to counsel mothers and families on initiation of breastfeeding and to assist families concerns and challenges that may occur during breastfeeding.
A Lactation Consultant can help with many aspects of breastfeeding including:
- Prenatal concerns that mothers may have related to breastfeeding
- Answering questions related to initiation of breastfeeding at birth
- Information about practices that promote successful breastfeeding
- Basic position and latch for comfort and successful breastfeeding
- Preventing and managing concerns such as inadequate latch, inadequate milk transfer or supply
- Support and reassurance when babies have difficulties with latch
- Concerns related nipple or breast pain
- Milk expression and storage
- Strategies for maintaining breastfeeding after mothers return to work
- Reassurance when breastfeeding is going well.
- Support in meeting your breastfeeding goals
During your first visit, the Lactation Consultant will ask about your health and your pregnancy, as well as your baby’s birth and health. She will ask about your breastfeeding and about any questions or concerns you may have related to breastfeeding. She will want to examine your baby, and will want to do a breast examination and observe a breastfeeding. If necessary, she will make recommendations for further consultations with other health professionals.