An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is an allied health care professional who has specialized knowledge in the area of breastfeeding and lactation. They already maintain a certification in another health care profession such as nursing, speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants have preparation that includes more 1000 hours of clinical experience and completed at least 90 hours of specialized continuing education. They are required to show ongoing clinical competence by recertifying every five years by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. IBCLCs have a professional association, a code of ethics, and standards of practice. They have the knowledge and expertise to address simple and complex breastfeeding and lactation problems.
The term “lactation consultant” does not mean that the person has attained this special certification. Anyone can call themselves a lactation consultant and charge for their services. The term lactation consultant is not a registered or certified name. Ask about the lactation consultant’s credentials to make sure that the person you will be seeing is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Some physicians’ offices and WIC programs have lactation counselors, lactation educators, or lactation specialists. They may be a nurse or counselor who has attended a five-day course and even taken a certification test; however, they may not be prepared to address breastfeeding problems. They can provide basic breastfeeding education to mothers and teach breastfeeding classes. They can give encouragement to mothers who are having normal breastfeeding experiences. Only International Board Certified Lactation Consultants have the specialized training and expertise to help you and your baby with breastfeeding problems.
TriHealth lactation consultants are International Board Certified. Eight of our 13 IBCLCs have been practicing for 10 to 15-plus years, making us well-prepared to help with a variety of mother and baby breastfeeding issues.
Brooks, E.C.(2013)Legal and Ethical Issues for the IBCLC. Burlington, MA; Jones & Bartlett Learning.
International Lactation Consultant Association (2014) What is an IBCLC? Retrieved from http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3832