What is an IBCLC & When Do I Need One?

An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a person who has worked with breastfeeding mothers and babies for an extended time, accrued significant professional development hours and has sat and passed an international level exam set by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE).  IBCLC’s are specialists in their field and are a reference point for any breastfeeding issue.

Many IBCLC’s come from a mother-to-mother breastfeeding counsellor or midwifery background.  Some are registered nurses from a hospital setting, others have been allied health professionals.   All lactation consultants who have IBCLC after their name, however, have attained the highest standard in the specialty of breastfeeding – regardless of their background.

The role of an IBCLC is usually in one of two areas.  There are often IBCLC’s employed by maternity hospitals to support mothers who birth in that hospital during the post-natal period.  Others go into private practice and support mothers during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby.

Research supports the fact that mothers (& their partners) who receive breastfeeding education before their baby is born are more likely to have better breastfeeding outcomes.  IBCLC’s have an indepth knowledge of issues which may effect breastfeeding and can provide an individual assessment before a baby arrives.

IBCLC’s are a wealth of knowledge after your baby is born and can help with all breastfeeding related issues.  Whether a baby is having trouble attaching, breastfeeding is painful or there is concern about milk supply – if it’s breastfeeding related, an IBCLC will be able to help.

If you’re returning to work, an IBCLC can help you to plan for the transition.  Both mother and baby will need to adjust to the changes, and input from an IBCLC can help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Some IBCLC’s provide professional inservice sessions and conference lectures.  Some are authors of fantastic books or run online breastfeeding education sites.

So, IBCLC’s are highly qualified health professionals that have a wide-ranging role in supporting breastfeeding mother/baby dyads in a variety of setting.

1 Comment

  1. Stacey Revie

    Here’s a link to the our professional association’s position paper on the role and impact of the IBCLC. http://www.ilca.org/files/resources/ilca_publications/Role%20%20Impact%20of%20the%20IBCLC-webFINAL_08-15-11.pdf

    Just in case you’re looking for it 😉

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