What is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant?


An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc. (www.iblce.org) under the direction of the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies. IBCLCs work in a wide variety of health care settings, including hospitals, pediatric offices, public health clinics, and private practice. (Definition provided by the International Lactation Consultant Association website.)

The IBCLC is the only internationally recognized credential in breastfeeding support. Certification is awarded upon completion of extensive clinical experience with breastfeeding mothers, educational credits in lactation, and a passing score on the lactation consultants' examination. IBCLCs must re-certify by acquiring continuing education recognition points over five years and must retake the certification examination after 10 years (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, 2007a). According to the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (2008), the professional organization for IBCLCs, the scope of practice for IBCLCs includes:

Working collaboratively with primary care providers to assure appropriate clinical/practical management of breastfeeding and lactation in order to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. Such practice includes providing education, counseling, and clinical/practical management to allow breastfeeding to be seen as the expected way in which healthy newborns are to be fed as well as to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems. Education efforts extend to the community as well as to breastfeeding families and health care colleagues.

Additionally, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners adopted a discipline committee and code of ethics that applies to all IBCLCs. (Definition from Medscape)