Types of Breastfeeding Support Professionals

Where do you go to get qualified breastfeeding support?

Here are the main types of breastfeeding support professionals:

 

  • IBCLCs: IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, usually just called a lactation consultant. These professionals go through a rigorous certification program, including prerequisite classes, 90 hours of lactation experience and clinical practice. Some lactation consultants working in the hospital are also nurses. Some work in out-of-hospital settings, in pediatric clinics or in their own practices. Others do home visits.  

  • CLC: Certified Lactation Counselors provide breastfeeding knowledge and counseling in clinical and other settings. They undergo a certification process similar to that of an IBCLC, but less rigorous. CLCs work in hospitals, clinics and more.

  • Doulas: Certified birth and postpartum doulas are required to have some training in breastfeeding, but their knowledge depends heavily on each doula.

  • Breastfeeding Peer Counselors: These are people who have breastfed before and are committed to helping other moms breastfeed. They can share basic breastfeeding knowledge and encouragement. 

Some healthcare providers, such as midwives, obstetricians, family doctors and pediatricians, may also have expertise in breastfeeding. Ask your provider about this; if necessary, ask him or her to refer you to an IBCLC or other breastfeeding professional near you.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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