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What does it take to be a Lactation Consultant?


Marie Davis RN IBCLC

There are many educational pathways


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First and foremost it takes a genuine interest in helping mothers and babies, and the desire to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc. (IBLCE)
The IBLCE is a nonprofit corporation established in 1985 to develop and administer a voluntary certification program for lactation consultants. Candidates must meet eligibility criteria and pass a university level examination. The IBLCE has been fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA), the body which sets the strongest standards for certifying organizations. The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) is a global association for health professionals who specialize in breastfeeding. ILCA acknowledges the IBCLE examination as the professional credential for lactation consultants.

 IBCLC's adhere to a Code of Ethics and work within professional Standards of Practice. They are required to keep their knowledge and skills current, and must re-certify every 5 years through continuing education or re-examination. Lactation consultants with IBCLC have the one credential that is recognized by all national and international lactation consultant professional associations.


Who Is Eligible To Take The IBCLE Examination?
Candidates must meet ALL of the requirements for education and training. Programs that offer a "mentor" are the best learning experiences.

Do I have to a La Leche League Leader first?

No. The La Lache League and the IBCLC are separate entities

Do I have to be a nurse or doctor first?

No. What is needed is "extensive knowledge, skills, and practical experience assisting mothers with breastfeeding." Such an extensive knowledge base cannot develop from nursing your own baby. Formal education and training that covers a wide range of topics and skills is an absolute necessity.

" If you do not yet have the required prior experience, or if it was not in an accredited capacity, or if your experience has not been in a supervised setting, you will not be eligible to take the exam to become a lactation consultant. " IBLCE

Clinical Competencies for the lactation consultant can be found on the IBLCE web site. They include the following areas : anatomy and physiology, sociology, psychology, counseling, communication skills, child development,  nutrition and medical terminology.

Want to get started?
The IBLCE web site is the BEST place to go. Find out about becoming a Lactation Consultant, what are the educational and clinical requirements.

International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), 7309 Arlington Blvd. Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22042 info @IBLCE.org


Check out these education sites

Bright Future Lactation Resource Centre
International Lactation Consultant's Association
Breastfeeding Support Consultants Center For Lactation Education
La Leche League International


© Marie Davis, RN, IBCLC     email

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Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 5:16 PM