What is an IBCLC?

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) accreditation is an internationally recognised professional breastfeeding qualification and is globally seen as the gold standard.

In order to qualify for the rigorous (4hr) exam applicants must demonstrate extensive (at least 1000hrs) time providing face –to- face support to families and in depth studying of advanced lactation subjects (at least 90 hrs covering these topics as a minimum).

Some IBCLCs are from a health professional background and those that are not have to show qualifications in 14 medical science subjects in order to apply. Once qualified IBCLCs must re-certify every 5 years to stay registered, having completed extensive Continuing Professional Development or re-sat the exam.

You can check whether someone is currently registered here (though be aware that the register is only updated periodically). For a helpful table about how the training of an IBCLC different from other breastfeeding supporters have a look at this which covers most of the major options. Do bear in mind though that it doesn't completely cover all of the options and there is some personal variation within each category.

IBCLCs have to abide by strict ethical and professional guidelines. They may also be members of LCGB (Lactation Consultants of Great Britain) and ILCA (International Lactation Consultants Association). We, at Nutrition and Nurture, adhere to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (WHO code) and are very familiar with the Baby Friendly Initiative Standards.

As experts in the field of lactation IBCLCs are well placed to provide information and support on a wide range of issues including complex or unusual situations or circumstances. For an idea of the types of things we can cover and where our limits are have a look at this document from IBLCE which documents "the field in which IBCLCs can provide safe, competent and evidence-based care". We are trained to support with infant feeding of all kinds and methods including bottle feeding and introducing complementary solids.

We empower you to feel confident with what you are doing and the decisions you make.

To see Lactation Consultants with services in your area you can look at the LCGB or ILCA websites.

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