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How to become a Lactation Consultant

How to become a Lactation Consultant
Photo: How to become a Lactation Consultant
Lactation Consultants are health professionals specially trained in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

Many new mothers experience problems with breastfeeding such as pain, trouble latching or low milk production. In these cases a Lactation Consultant may be contacted to provide information and training on topics such as positioning the baby for breastfeeding, breast pumping, safe storage of expressed milk and how to increase milk production.

Lactation Consultants can also provide support for infants who are not gaining weight quickly enough, premature infants or those with medical conditions such as children with cleft lip and/or palate.

Lactation Consultants can work in a range of settings including hospital, private practice or clinic, public health services or a GPs office.
Certification 
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) is the only international body to confer certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Health professionals must become IBCLE certified before they can practice as a Lactation Consultant.

Health professionals who qualify for certification (such as nurses, midwives, doctors and many allied health professions) will need to:
• Complete lactation specific clinical practice – between 300-1000 hours* and;
• Complete at least 90 hours of education on lactation and breastfeeding and;
• Achieve a passing grade on the IBCLE examination

If you are not a health professional you may need to complete additional tertiary health sciences study as well as courses in medical terminology and documentation, basic life support, first aid, infection control and ethics.

The ICBLE examination is held each July at venues across the world. Starting in 2016 the IBCLE examination will be available twice per year, in April and October.

*For more information on eligibility and pathways to IBCLE certification click here.

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