What is an IBCLC (and who should see one)?
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, or IBCLCs for short, are lactation professionals that have expertise in the clinical management of breastfeeding and human lactation. According to the Scope of Practice that all IBCLCs are required to abide by, the goal of the Lactation Consultant is to “provide safe, competent and evidence-based care.”
IBCLCs must meet a rigorous set of standards determined by IBLCE, which includes a demonstrated level of proficiency in general health sciences, lactation specific education, and lactation specific clinical experience. All IBCLCs have passed a comprehensive exam that demonstrates their specialized knowledge in breastfeeding and human lactation, and are required to continue to keep their knowledge up to date through ongoing continuing education.
IBCLCs are the only lactation professionals that are qualified to provide advanced hands on breastfeeding support, clinical lactation assessment, and work with lactating individuals to develop a care plan.
In short, IBCLCs are the “gold standard” of lactation professionals.
It’s important to note that “Lactation Consultant” is not a trademarked term, so people without the IBCLC certification may use that term. To ensure you are receiving the gold standard of lactation care, ensure you are working with an IBCLC through the IBCLE Public Registry.
You may choose to work with a Lactation Consultant for support in addressing any number of breastfeeding issues. If you are experiencing any pain associated with breastfeeding or pumping, if your baby is not producing the expected number of wet or dirty diapers, if your baby is not demonstrating appropriate weight gain, or if you meet any of the following criteria, you may elect to seek care from an IBCLC:
- Cracked/scabbed nipples or nipple pain
- Low supply or over supply
- Multiples (twins, triplets, or more can breastfeed!)
- Inappropriate weight gain
- History of breastfeeding difficulty
- History of breast surgery
- No breast changes during pregnancy
- Breast anomalies
- History of PCOS or other hormonal issues
- Breast pain
- Premature infant
- Separation from infant (in NICU or otherwise)
- Tongue tie
- Cleft lip or palate
If you are unsure if IBCLC care is appropriate for you, please feel free to contact me, and I can help steer you in the right direction!