What is a Lactation Consultant?

By Kayleen Lowe

What is a lactation consultant and how can they help you? Find out here! 

mom and baby milk
What is an IBCLE (International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners): It is the only internationally certified healthcare professional in the clinical management of breastfeeding and human lactation. 
 
What is the role of the IBCLC: There are many roles that a lactation consultant may function in, such as an advocate for mothers who choose to breast feed, a clinical expert who is trained to counsel new mothers on initiation, exclusivity, and duration of breastfeeding, and to assist amidst any difficulties or high-risk situations. Lactation Consultants are sometime placed in the role of collaborator working with not only new mothers and families, but other healthcare providers. These are but a few roles that Lactation Consultants provide. There are many other roles such as Policy Consultants, Research Consultants depending on where ones interest are. 

In the world of social media, another role that lactation consultants are pursuing is that of twitter, facebook, and what some healthcare facilities are calling “telehealth” (skyping) which will allow lactation consultants to reach to other hospitals who do not have lactation consultants on staff to provide assistance to their new moms and babies. 

The International Lactation Consultants report that lactation consultants help improve breastfeeding rates, help improve outcomes for breastfeeding mothers and babies, and contribute to lower costs.  

As an IBCLC, I find it a privilege to be a part of the healthcare team to provide assistance to these new mothers who want to provide the very best for their babies.  I find it very rewarding to see a new mother overcome some of the challenges that may occur when breastfeeding.  It is thrilling to see and experience the natural instincts between a mom and baby as they are both learning this new skill.