Many different people work together to make sure that Mom’s Place runs smoothly. Below you’ll find descriptions of the different levels of training Mom’s Place staff members have in breastfeeding assistance and lactation management.
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
- WIC Peer Counselor (PC)
- Texas Breastfeeding Educator (TBE)
- La Leche League (LLL)Leader
- Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
If you see IBCLC after someone’s name, it means she has thousands of hours working with breastfeeding mothers and usually has a professional degree in nutrition, nursing, medicine, or a related field. IBCLCs have successfully passed the International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners (IBLCE) exam after meeting stringent qualification requirements. The letters RLC identify an IBCLC practitioner with a minimum of 10 years of experience after receiving board certification. For more information, see the section “What Is an IBCLC?” below.
A peer counselor is a WIC mother experienced in breastfeeding her child. She has completed a 20-hour breastfeeding training course to enable her to help moms with normal breastfeeding issues. Peer counselors talk with pregnant moms about breastfeeding, teach breastfeeding classes, visit new moms in the hospital, make follow-up calls, and help with normal breastfeeding problems.
This is a person who has completed the Department of State Health Services “Principles of Lactation Management” and “Lactation Counseling and Problem Solving” courses. Training and experience may vary from educator to educator. TBEs may have additional degrees or certifications.
This is a mother with experience breastfeeding at least one child. League leaders have gone through extensive breastfeeding training and a detailed accreditation process emphasizing counseling and parenting. Their focus is on mother-to-mother support for clients.
This is a person who has attended a week of breastfeeding training and then passed an exam; it is not the same as a lactation consultant.
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential identifies a knowledgeable and experienced member of the maternal-child health team who has specialized skills in breastfeeding management and care. The IBLCE certification program offers the only credential in lactation consulting in the world and is available globally.
The IBCLC credential signifies that the practitioner has demonstrated competence in:
- Working with mothers to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems
- Collaborating with other members of the health care team to provide comprehensive care that supports, protects and promotes breastfeeding
- Encouraging a social environment that supports breastfeeding families
- Educating families, health professionals, and policy makers about the far-reaching and long-lasting value of breastfeeding as a global public health imperative
With a focus on preventive health care, IBCLCs encourage self-care, empowering parents to make their own decisions. IBCLCs use a problem-solving approach to provide evidence-based information to pregnant and breastfeeding women and make appropriate referrals to other members of the health care team.
What Does a Lactation Consultant Do?
IBCLCs play an important role in the lives of new mothers. Counseling and educating clients about all matters related to breastfeeding, IBCLCs work in various medical settings. While some IBCLCs come from the health care field, others focus solely on lactation.
About the IBCLC Credential
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.
IBCLCs must demonstrate continued competence to practice by recertifying every five years. Every ten years, recertification by examination is required.
Prospective IBCLCs must meet general education, clinical experience, and lactation-specific education requirements. The IBLCE has defined three pathways through which candidates may meet the exam eligibility requirements. For more information about exam eligibility, see the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners website.