A Lactation Consultant is a healthcare provider recognized as an expert in the fields of human lactation and breastfeeding. An International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) will have the initials IBCLC and/or RLC after her/his name, as a physician would have MD, or a registered nurse would have RN.
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) certification program offers the only international certification in lactation consulting.
IBCLCs have passed a rigorous examination that demonstrates the ability to provide knowledgeable, competent and comprehensive lactation and breastfeeding care and education in routine and special circumstances across the chronological spectrum of pre-conception to early childhood. Attainment of the IBCLC credential signifies that the practitioner has demonstrated knowledge to:
• work together with mothers to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems
• collaborate with other members of the health care team to provide comprehensive care that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding
• encourage a social environment that supports breastfeeding families
• educate families, health professionals and policy makers about the far-reaching and long-lasting value of breastfeeding as a global public health imperative.
Among those who become IBCLCs are nurses, midwives, dietitians, physicians and experienced breastfeeding support counselors. IBCLCs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, neonatal intensive care units, human milk banks and private practice.
The privilege to hold the IBCLC credential is conditional and revocable for cause. Complaints about the conduct of individual IBCLCs are received and reviewed by the IBLCE Ethics and Discipline Committee as specified by the IBLCE Disciplinary Procedures.
• IBCLCs must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs and practice within the Scope of Practice for IBCLCs and the Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs.
• IBCLCs are required to keep their knowledge and skills current. They must recertify every 5 years through continuing education or re-examination.
• IBCLCs function and contribute as members of the health care team and make appropriate referrals to other health care professionals and community support resources.