Why Pay for an IBCLC?
There are many different kinds of people that can help with breastfeeding questions and concerns. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs), La Leche League Leaders, Midwives, Doulas, your mom, your sister, and sometimes even your neighbors and friends. There is a time and a place for all of this help. Sometimes a neighbor or a local volunteer La Leche League Leader is all the help that you need. However, there are times when you need a professional, to help you get on a better path to the breastfeeding experience that you want.
The IBCLC certification is widely considered the Gold Standard of lactation care. It is also the most difficult certification to obtain, and the most difficult to maintain. An IBCLC needs at least 14 college level courses related to health, or licensure as a health care professional. In addition, they must complete 90 hours of lactation specific course work, and have 1000 hours or more of experience with breastfeeding mothers and babies. Once a person has these basic requirements, they need to sit for a professional exam. After the exam is passed, they need 75 hours of continuing education specific to lactation every 5 years. Every 10 years, they must repeat the exam. You can be assured that your IBCLC is committed to the very highest standard of lactation care.
The IBCLC is the only certification recognized by both the US Surgeon General, and the Centers for Disease Control. IBCLCs perform professional comprehensive clinical lactation consultations. Individuals who hold this certification are expected to be able to help mothers with a wide range of breastfeeding difficulties. They must provide written communication to the mother or baby’s health care providers, and keep written records. IBCLCs routinely communicate with other health care providers so that the mother and baby can receive the best care possible. It is the provider credential recommended by the National Business Group on Health in its Model Benefits Package for what employers /insurers should cover relative to the provision of lactation care and services.