What's an IBCLC?
An important member of the perinatal health care team, an IBCLC is healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of lactation and is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners®. IBCLCs provide direct care to families, education and training to other professionals and volunteers and help guide policy.
Becoming an IBCLC requires comprehensive academic and practical preparation, as well as passing the board exam. We have a well-defined scope of practice and code of professional conduct and are subject to disciplinary procedures as governed by IBLCE.
They are the only clinician whose sole focus is human lactation and infant feeding. An IBCLCs knowledge is very specialized and runs very deep. IBCLCs are the gold standard in lactation care!
Who else can help?
Nurses have a wide range of knowledge. Their knowledge of lactation and infant feeding can vary depending on their individual experience and training. Your nurse in the hospital will help you with getting started right after you give birth. Once home, the CLSC nurse can tell you if your baby is gaining enough weight and if you are having difficulty, she can help you with the first steps to improve things. If you are having a lot of difficulty, you may need the more specialized help that an IBCLC can offer.
Midwives provide clinical care for normal situations during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.. Your MIdwife will help you get started and can help you with the first steps of improving things if you encounter challenges. However, sometimes difficulties extend beyond what a midwife can handle and you need the more specialized care of an IBCLC to get things on track.
Your baby's doctor will make sure they are eating enough and can evaluate for medical problems, but unless they have taken specialized training, they won't be able to help you resolve complex feeding problems. Doctors who work in specialized breastfeeding clinics have additional training and can prescribe medications and perform procedures that are sometimes necessary to resolve feeding issues. In either case, an IBCLC is an important part of the team needed to help get things back on track.
During pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, Doulas provide physical and emotional support. as well as general information. They can help you get started, understand what is normal and what is not and help you navigate the normal challenges of becoming a new parent. They do not provide a clinical care provider. They provide support in addition to the care you need from your Doctor, Midwife or IBCLC.
La Leche League Leaders and Nourri-Source Marraines have personal experience and training help you through normal challenges. They do not provide clinical care or manage complex cases. They give you support in addition to your clinical follow-up. I encourage all my clients to get involved with their local community support group. Get in touch here: