What is IBCLC? The Full-Depth Definition

What is IBCLC

IBCLC or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a medical care professional who undertakes the clinical management of breastfeeding. IBCLCs works in many health care settings that include private practice, public health clinics, pediatric offices, and hospitals.

Continue reading the article to find out more about what is IBCLC, IBCLC meaning, and about what is IBCLC certification.

IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc.

For more than 30 years, they are responsible for providing lactation care and services of the highest quality to the infants and new mothers. They are considered as an integral part of every society.

There are over 25000 IBCLC professionals worldwide who are practicing in many divisions.

IBCLCs are treated as vital members among the health care team in neonatal ICU (intensive care unit), hospitals, public health agencies, special nurseries, private clinics, and government offices.

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They work together with postpartum and prenatal providers and help the new families to encounter their breastfeeding needs.

This way, they help the hospitals and healthcare facilities establish and support the protocols exclusively for breastfeeding. IBCLCs are known all over the world to possess a board-certified, standardized lactation credential.

See also: How to Become a Lactation Consultant

They have updated knowledge and evidence-based execution in lactation as they pass through tough exam procedures along with re-certification every 5 years.

IBCLCs are experienced in tackling complex breastfeeding situations. These experts are reluctant to assist the new mothers with established and sustained breastfeeding amidst the high-risk situations and difficulties that may arise.

They are sensitive to both the newly-born infant and mothers. They work with mothers to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

See also: SMART Goals for Nursing With Clear Examples

So, is it good enough to hire an IBCLC?

At first glance, you may get the impression that the services of a lactation consultant are a bit higher. There are lots of families who are struggling with a tight budget who thinks that whether it would be worthy of the investment.

But, one thing you should know that investment for such a service could be priceless.

Almost every health service gets reimbursed by employers or insurance companies.

An investment of about $300 can save you $2000 in the near future on costs that may include the physician visits for children diabetes, obesity, and other chronic or acute diseases.

The $300 investment in child healthcare lasts for a lifetime.

Here’s an in-depth interview of IBCLC Trine Bradshaw if you would like to learn more about breastfeeding before continuing to read this article.

Now you know the basics about what is IBCLC, but let’s dig in a little deeper into this subject.

What does IBCLC stand for?

IBCLC stands for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

IBCLCs are experts and skilled in breastfeeding. They serve as supporting hands for the parents who are struggling with complex and common problems surrounding breastfeeding.

They are regulated and registered by IBLCE, or International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners.

In general, IBCLCs are health professionals that provide breastfeeding support to new mothers. They have a background like health visiting, medicine, pharmacy, and midwifery.

The diverse IBCLC course makes sure that the lactation consultant has studied a range of topics that encircles human lactation, which is quite applicable to breastfeeding mothers.

What does IBCLC stand for

There are specialists in every medical field.

When you develop a strange-looking mole, you need to go to a dermatologist. If you have diabetes, you should always consult an endocrinologist.

And, when you are diagnosed with cancer, you would be referred to an oncologist. Yet, very few people and not physicians, who work with new mothers and their infants.

IBCLC is an expert in managing to breastfeed of the mothers, and they have rich expertise in this particular area.

An IBCLC can be treated as a gold standard when it comes to clinical management and lactation education of breastfeeding. They are health care professionals who are recognized internationally in terms of lactation.

That means, they can work in distant countries as an IBCLC like China or Germany.

That’s because babies are breastfed the same way they are treated in the US. When it is about breastfeeding management and education, no other initials other than the IBCLC come closer, even the initials of MD aren’t considered.

IBCLC works in private health practices, hospitals, and clinics.

Sometimes they do have backgrounds in other related medical fields such as speech pathologists, dietitians, nursing, and even physicians.

However, you don’t need to be from the medical background so as to become an IBCLC.

But, you need to pass the rigorous test in order to have a degree.

If you want to become a registered lactation consultant and a board-certified member, you need a few hundred hours of supervision before sitting for an examination.

The exams given for becoming a registered nurse appears once in your lifetime.

See also: How to Become a Registered Nurse

But, for IBCLC, you have to sit for every 10 years.

This ensures that you are following the latest trends in breastfeeding education and management.

Now that you know what is IBCLC and what it exactly stands for, it’s time to dive even deeper on IBCLC meaning.

IBCLC meaning

IBCLC meaning

Basically, IBCLC means a healthcare professional who has years of experience in education and hands-on training in breastfeeding management.

Such type of practice and preparation is strictly governed by IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners). They are experts in foreseeing and preventing issues relating to breastfeeding.

This way, they help families to restore certain breastfeeding issues during the course of the season.

This is the reason why IBCLCs are being relied upon by pediatric, midwifery, pediatric dentistry, neonatology, speech pathology, and obstetric providers.

Apart from them, community breastfeeding supporters such as doulas, peer counselors, group leaders, etc.

Similar to the other health care professionals, IBCLCs practice in a wide variety of settings. They render their services in hospitals where babies are mothers are kept.

They practice privately in their own offices or do in-home visits.

See also: Can a Nurse Practitioner Have Their Own Practice?

They also practice in doctor’s office, non-profit and government agencies.

An IBCLC can be any person, a man, or a woman both.

Women who never have experienced motherhood can be experts in this area. This may include midwives and obstetricians.

Anyone who is interested and serious about committing their time and effort to pursue the education to sit in the board exam of IBCLC can become one.

Keep in mind that it may take about 2 to 5 years for preparing the exam for IBCLC.

Although many IBCLCs have a background in healthcare facilities or possess some kind of degree, it is not a mandatory requirement to qualify for the board exam.

Candidates may have to work hard through an internship program.

For that, they may need to return to college or university, and take up classes based on lactation. In short, health care facilities and families can solely depend on the critical and general-thinking skills of IBCLCs.

It is often seen that service providers can only assist a baby or a mother as a patient.

But, IBCLCs are quite experienced in this regard, and they are able to take care of both baby and mother.

Only an IBCLC can truly understand the intimate relationship and dependence that both of them have on one another.

In this way, they will help you to overcome your obstacles and balance your breastfeeding.

Okay, but what is IBCLC certification that I’ve mentioned in this article? Let’s find that out next.

What is IBCLC certification?

What is IBCLC certification?

Lactation professionals provide clinical assistance to breastfeeding mothers. They give breastfeeding education to new and expecting mothers.

They also help mothers with any kind of issues that arises during the course of breastfeeding.

To become a consultant, a person has to be registered and certified as an IBCLC.

This is called IBCLC certification.

Attaining a certificate helps in attracting consumers and landing jobs.

That’s because, when you hold a certification, it means you have met certain standards for experience and education. The many States now require lactation professionals to become registered or licensed to practice.

Earning a certification allows your clients to make use of their health insurance for paying your fees, as well.

To be recognized as a certified lactation expert, you have to follow IBCLCs standards for lactation-specific education, lactation-based clinical experience, health sciences education, and adherence to the code of professional conduct.

When you have these standards, you can take the examination for the certificate.

The IBCLC certification works fine for 5 years.

You can recertify later by continuing education in this area. It is mandatory for every IBCLC to take on exams every 10 years.

The exact time required for an individual to become a consultant varies, and it depends on your working background.

Recent healthcare professionals already have the required standards to qualify for the certification exam.

Individuals who are new in this area, have to complete the certification program at the college to satisfy the criteria. The candidates have to complete courses in 14 different subjects.

That includes eight college courses on topics like human physiology, human anatomy, nutrition, sociology, psychology, biology, infant & child growth & development, and research.

The candidates should complete courses in medical documentation, occupational safety, safety precautions for certain infectious diseases, professional ethics, medical terminology, and CPR.

Healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, physician assistants, and midwives are exempt from the requirements of IBCLC certification.

See also: Nurse Practitioner vs Physician Assistant

The consultants must complete 90 hours of education related to lactation. Another important requirement is to have clinical experience.

Individuals having 1000 hours of work experience with lactating mothers for 5 years before taking the exam, don’t have to compete for the additional hours.

The candidates who are falling short of this requirement, have to complete 300 hours of clinical practice with none other than the breastfeeding mothers.

Conclusion: What is IBCLC?

At this point, you should have a pretty good understanding about what is IBCLC, what it stands for and what is IBCLC certification.

If you would like to learn some more, check out these articles of ours:

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.