IBCLC stands for International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. An IBCLC has passed a fully accredited examination set by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).
Prerequisites for the board examination include thousands of hours of clinical work and dozens of educational credits in Anatomy & Physiology, Cultural Diversity, Psychology & Counseling, Child Development, and Nutrition.
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a member of the maternal-child healthcare team with specialized skills in breastfeeding care and management. The IBCLC credential is the highest certification and the only internationally recognized credential in the field of lactation.
Research has shown improved breastfeeding outcomes when mothers and infants receive the services of IBCLCs. While many training courses provide certificates of completion, only the IBCLC credential denotes certification in lactation consultation.
The IBLCE certification is recognized as the Gold Standard for health professionals working with breastfeeding women, and all IBCLCs are required to adhere to IBLCE’s Professional Standards.
Why a Mother Might Need an IBCLC
A Board Certified Lactation Consultant is an invaluable asset to breastfeeding mothers by reassuring them when breastfeeding is going well, and by providing information and support to help her prevent and manage common concerns. IBCLCs help with:
- Prenatal counseling about risk factors that may affect breastfeeding
- Basic position and latch of the infant. Breastfeeding comfortably.
- Information about practices that promote successful breastfeeding
- Inadequate milk transfer or supply,
- Nipple or breast discomfort
- Preventing and managing common concerns such as poor latch
- Milk expression and storage for mothers who must be separated from their babies
- Strategies for breastfeeding after returning to work
- Breastfeeding in challenging situations, such as breastfeeding twins or triplets, a premature or sick infant, or infants in special medical situations
- Managing plugged ducts, blebs, engorgement, or mastitis.