You have just had a baby. You’ve always known you would breastfeed, but things are not going well. Perhaps your nipples are sore. Or you’re struggling with engorgement. Maybe you’re worried about milk supply. Or your baby has hard time latching. Or maybe you just have a lot of questions. In any case, you and your healthcare provider have decided you need the help of an expert. It’s time to call a lactation consultant.
You’re happy to hear that the lactation consultant (IBCLC) your doctor recommends will come to your home to help you. You make an appointment with the consultant, and then you wonder….”What should I do in preparation for her visit?” Continue reading →
Lately there seems to be a lot of confusion about just who is qualified to dispense breastfeeding advice. Historically, the term “lactation consultant”refers to a health care professional who has met the qualifications for, and passed the exam given by, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. Passing the exam permits her to use the letters IBCLC after her name. Unfortunately the term “lactation consultant” is not trademarked so there are no regulations about who uses that term. If you’re seeking help for breastfeeding be sure that your consultant has received extensive training, including at least 500 supervised clinical hours specific to lactation.
In the last 10 years or so some organizations have begun offering certifications for programs that involve a mere week or so of didactic instruction. The coursework is valuable, but does not provide the depth and breadth of training required to become IBCLC. On the other hand, other healthcare professionals, such as MD’s, have 1000’s of hours of clinical training and experience, but usually very little in the area of lactation.
Here is a partial list of professionals and others who sometimes get confused with lactation consultants. This list pertains to the US only. Other countries have different certifications. Continue reading →
Breastfeeding is a normal, biological process for babies and moms. It is not a “condition” that requires medical training. Your doctor helps you with medical concerns. A lactation consultant will help you with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants may work in hospitals, clinics or may come to your home.
A lactation consultant is a skilled healthcare professional who specializes in the science of human lactation (breastfeeding), and in the assessment of breastfeeding women and their babies. Lactation consultants come from a variety of professional backgrounds. To ensure that a consultant has the minimum competencies recognized in the field, see an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). “Breastfeeding specialists” or “lactation educators” have not met those minimum competencies.Continue reading →
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