what is an IBCLC

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An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding and is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners®, Inc. under the direction of the US National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

For 25 years, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) have provided high quality lactation care and services to new mothers and infants. More than 22,000 IBCLCs practice worldwide as vital members of the health care team in hospitals, neonatal intensive care units, special nurseries, public health agencies, private clinics, government offices, and private practice. They work hand-in-hand with prenatal and postpartum providers to help new families meet their breastfeeding goals, and to help hospitals establish and support protocols for exclusive breastfeeding.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are:

  • Recognized the world over as possessing the only standardized, board certified lactation credential available
  • Knowledgeable about up-to-date evidence-based practices in lactation as demonstrated through a rigorous exam process
  • Experienced in a wide variety of complex breastfeeding situations
  • Competent to assist mothers with establishing and sustaining breastfeeding, even in the midst of difficulties and high-risk situations that can arise
  • Sensitive to the needs of both mothers and children as they work to help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals
  • Ethical in their practice, abiding by Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics and working within a defined Scope of Practice

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IBCLCs Help Mothers With:

  • Prenatal breastfeeding assessment and counseling
  • Positioning and latch of an infant
  • Prevention and management of maternal concerns such as breast pain and engorgement
  • Establishing and increasing milk production
  • Premature babies
  • Infants with neurological deficits or physical disabilities
  • Suck difficulties that interfere with breastfeeding
  • Confidence to breastfeed for as long as mother and baby want
  • Breastfeeding-supportive measures when mother and baby are separated due to work, medical, or educational issues

IBCLCs Complement the Health Care Team Through:

  • Development and implementation of breastfeeding protocols
  • Evidence-based care plans that support each mother’s breastfeeding goals• Assessments of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in hospital or private clinics
  • Prenatal and postnatal education and counselingHospital rounds with all new breastfeeding mothers
  • Direct assistance to breastfeeding mothers experiencing difficulties
  • Triaging for medical conditions that need to be referred
  • Staffing an outpatient breastfeeding clinic
  • Inpatient and outpatient breastfeeding support services
  • Support group meetings for new mothers
  • Follow-up with breastfeeding mothers post-discharge
  • Instructing mothers about milk expression (either by hand, or with a pump), alternative feeding methods, and safe storage guidelines for expressed human milk
  • Staff in-services in the area of lactation management and support

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