An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional that specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc. (IBCLE), under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies. An IBCLC practice is guided by the Scope of Practice for International Board Certified Lactation Conslutants.
How do Lactation Consultants become Internationally Board Certified?
In order to be eligible for certification, candidates must meet defined eligibility requirements in education and experience. They must then demonstrate breastfeeding knowledge and management skills from pre-conception through early childhood by taking a comprehensive examination. Five years later, they must demonstrate continued competence to practice by either completion of continuing education requirements or passing the examination again. Ten years after their initial certification, they are required to recertify by passing the examination. IBCLCs are expected to maintain and enhance knowledge and skills through ongoing continuing education.
The breastfeeding mother has her doctor, and the nursing baby has her Pediatrician; it is only the IBCLC that treats the mombaby as one unit. We are an important part of the mombaby healthcare team, reporting back to the health care providers. Additionally, an IBCLC offers breastfeeding education and counseling, which are integral parts of the care provided by the IBCLC. We educate parents and families and encourage informed decision-making about infant/child feeding and nurturing. We use a practical problem-solving approach, sensitive to the mother’s culture/background, as well as her questions and concerns. We provide preventative guidance to promote optimal breastfeeding practices and minimize the potential for breastfeeding problems or complications. We are also here to provide positive feedback and emotional support for continued breastfeeding, especially in difficult or complicated circumstances. We also share current evidence-based information and clinical skills in collaboration with other health care providers.