What is a lactation consultant?

If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, finding yourself in pain, worried about milk supply, baby’s weight gain or other related issues, a lactation consultant can help you and your baby find nursing success. Laid Back Lactation provides top-notch care from experienced IBCLCs, who offer the very best care for breastfeeding babies and their parents.

Lactation consultants may work at a hospital, from a pediatrician’s office, or in private practice.

What is an IBCLC?

IBCLC is the acronym for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It is often said that they are the “gold standard” of care for breastfeeding parents. They are healthcare professionals trained to specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

Before becoming certified by International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), a candidate must have completed higher education in the health sciences and many hours of clinical practice in lactation. Also required are 90 hours of education in human lactation and a rigorous written exam. There is an enormous amount of training required to hold this title. 

Many people become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants after working for years as registered nurses in maternity or labor and delivery, medical doctors, midwives, doulas, or clinical therapists. Other come to the profession via peer support groups like La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA. 

Additionally, IBCLCs are required to complete continuing education requirements and resit for the exam at regular intervals in order to stay current on the latest information available. 

Are there other kinds of lactation counselors?

It can seem like a jumble of alphabet soup when you’re first looking for a lactation consultant. In addition to IBCLCs, there are also several other types of breastfeeding counselors you may meet:

  • Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) have completed a 45 hour training course in human lactation and counseling. Many people use their CLC as a stepping stone to becoming an IBCLC.

  • Peer Counselors are employed through WIC to help with common breastfeeding problems. Most are experienced nursing moms who have received help from Peer Counselors themselves.

  • La Leche League Leaders and Breastfeeding USA counselors are trained volunteers who can provide peer-to-peer support and answers to common issues.

All of these breastfeeding support roles are important and valuable. If you’re confused about someone’s qualifications, you can always ask about what type of training they’ve received.

For the very best care—and for complicated or complex breastfeeding issues—an IBCLC is the best professional to see. 

How does a lactation consultant help with breastfeeding problems?

If you’re having issues after hospital discharge, you may see an IBCLC in her office or a home visit in your own home. An IBCLC will meet with you and your baby to assess your situation. She will weigh your baby and observe a feeding. An examination of your breasts and baby’s mouth may also take place.

Your lactation consultant should answer all of your questions and leave you with a care plan to help your situation improve. The consultant may refer you to another specialized care provider, like an ENT, pediatric dentist or craniosacral therapist for a second opinion. The IBCLC may also reach out to your baby’s pediatrician to communicate the care plan.

A good IBCLC should be available for additional post-visit questions, and may ask you to schedule a follow-up visit to ensure you and baby are on the right track to breastfeeding success. 

How can I find a lactation consultant?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re in the right place! Laid Back Lactation offers skilled and compassionate care to help breastfeeding mothers in need. You can use this form to schedule an appointment with us. We serve new families in Essex, Bergen and Morris Counties of Northern New Jersey, from our West Caldwell office.

If you’re not located in this area, you can use the ILCA database to search for a lactation consultant near you.

Need help with solving your breastfeeding issues?
Laid Back Lactation is here to help! Schedule your in-person consult now.