Wednesday, August 14, 2013
What’s the Difference between a Lactation Consultant and a Breastfeeding Specialist?
This is a popular question that we get from our breastfeeding moms. With so many resources and “specialists” out there, it can be rather confusing, particularly if you’re a new mom who’s struggling with breastfeeding. How do you know if the person giving you advice about breastfeeding is actually qualified to do so?
A “lactation consultant” is a healthcare professional who has received at least 90 hours of lactation education, undergone more than 1,000 hours of lactation-specific clinical training, and passed the exam given by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. By passing this exam, a lactation consultant is then certified and may use the letters “IBCLC” after her name. Additionally, all IBCLCs must renew their certification via continuing education units every five years and via re-examination every 10 years. These measures are considered the standard in the field.
On the other hand, you may encounter a breastfeeding specialist, counselor or expert who refers to herself as a lactation consultant. She may even have credentials like CLE or CLC after her name, indicating that she’s completed some coursework to earn a certificate. Although this training is valuable for teaching breastfeeding classes and helping with basic breastfeeding, it does not make a specialist qualified to consult with moms and babies on more challenging breastfeeding issues. Only an IBCLC is guaranteed to have the extensive education, training and clinical experience to provide this level of care and support. In other words, a breastfeeding specialist who is not a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) is not considered a legitimate lactation consultant.
Posted by Lactation Services and Support At MoBap at 10:59 AM