C.R. asks from Duluth, MN on August 26, 2007
Becoming a Lactation Consultant from the Beginning
I was just wondering if anyone could tell me what the process would be to become a lactation consultant. I have very little college and to be honest I haven't really had to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am 27 years old right now and my husband is set to retire from the Army in 6 years. He plans to work part time leaving me to work full time. I don't mind at all! I was just looking on line thought that being a lactation consultant would be something I would enjoy. I loved breastfeeding my first son and enjoy it now as I feed the baby! I know it will be a long process but I was just wanting to hear from someone who has done it or are doing it now. Online doesn't really tell me everything I need to know! Thanks so much!
J.P. answers from Chicago on August 27, 2007
Hi C., I e-mailed your request to my friend, Kim, who is a la leche league leader that supports breastfeeding moms in the Plainfield area. (They meet at coffee shops etc.. to talk about breastfeeding issues.) Anyway... below is what she e-mailed me. (I copied and pasted it below.)
Tell her... that she can go on'line at lalecheleague.org and they have a link that explains how to become a state certified Lactation Specialist. It would be best to be state certified then she could get a job lots of places, hospitals, lactation centers, and even start her own business as a LC. I don't know what state she is in, so she would need to contact her local Lactation Center to find out specifics for her state. Many hospitals have LC's and could also direct her into the right direction. Good luck!
P. answers from Chicago on August 27, 2007
Your first stop should be the La Leche League website and then your local chapter to find out the best course for you from where you are now. You will get reliable advice from them, and hopefully avoid more medicalized programs that will give you a less natural and pro-woman, pro-breastfeeding approach. Also, you may want to check out Mothering magazine's website and back issues. They are one of the country's leading advocates for breastfeeding. Good luck! P.
J. answers from Chicago on August 27, 2007
All of the lactation consultants I've seen have also been RN's. It looks like this organization does certification - you could probably contact them for information: http://www.iblce.org/
C.G. answers from Chicago on August 27, 2007
Many hospitals have "lactation specialists" or "lactation counselors" who are not IBCLC certified- generally they are RN's with a little additional training.
To become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) the process is rather rigorous, but this is considered the gold standard in lactation education. Here is their website http://www.iblce.org/info.htm . It's true that it is easier for nurses and other health workers to get certified but it is not impossible for others to do it.
I am an RN and working my way up to IBCLC. Currently I am doing "lactation educator" certification through CAPPA (www.cappa.net) in hopes of teaching breastfeeding classes at my hospital and eventually becoming IBCLC certified. Good luck, women definitely need the help.
P.D. answers from Chicago on August 27, 2007
you are welcome to contact me off list for more information or to discuss this.
P., RLC, IBCLC
Pres. Lactation Support Group, Inc