How To Choose Lactation Support
We have an amazing team of birth and postpartum doulas. Each of us works together with our clients, and their families, to find the resources that are available to them, including how to choose lactation support.
Each family has questions about how to feed their infant, it doesn’t matter if is the first or 10th baby they have cared for. There are many ways to feed your baby and all work great if the baby and the parents are thriving. Everyone has unique needs and desires. Lactation support is NOT about breastfeeding rather it is about helping parents to choose how to feed their children: breastmilk, formula, or a combination of both. They may feed directly from the nipple, a feeding system, or a bottle. However you choose to feed your baby, a professional may be beneficial to ensure you have a positive, successful feeding relationship.
The lactation consultant/educator/counselor world can be quite confusing to someone that is new to the world of parenthood. There are many confusing acronyms out there, such as IBCLC, CLC, LLL, and CLE. The term ‘lactation consultant’ is not trademarked, so there are big differences in the level of the different titles of training and experience.
Before you hire a professional to support you on your infant feeding journey I recommend learning about the types of support available to families caring for their infant(s). see the list below for some of the many acronyms and titles that you may see when searching for professional services
Do know that ONLY a board-certified IBCLC should be able to create a care plan for you. They have the raining to do inspections of an infant’s mouth (palate and frenulum) or parent’s breast and nipples, use a scale to weigh supply, give devices to aid in feeding (nipple shields), offer any medications, or other medical advice.
IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). They have a college degree, complete an accepted course, pass an extensive exam, and complete a thousand hours of experience. The title IBCLC is the only breastfeeding certification recognized by the US Surgeon General, and the only one used as a quality metric by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Receive certification from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners ®.
CLC (Certified Lactation Consultant). Usually have completed a course, received a certificate, and proven they have experience helping breastfeeding mothers and babies.
CBC (Certified Breastfeeding Counselor)- Completed the two-day CBC course and passed an exam. They hold an active Registered Nursing License and have a minimum of one year of experience working with pregnant or lactating women
ALC (Advanced Lactation Consultant)- Completed the Healthy Children Project’s Advanced Issues in Lactation Practice Certification Program and is certified by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).
BC (Breastfeeding Counselors): WIC, LLL, Breastfeeding USA, and other organizations have their own requirements for this title. It usually requires completing a course and having the personal experience to offer peer support.
CLS (Certified Lactation Specialist)- Training class to complete part of IBCLC requirements. Certificate of completion received after completing a 5-day course.
LS (Lactation Specialist)- Course geared toward hospital staff to satisfy the educational requirements of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. It is not a certificate or certification program.
CBS (Certified Breastfeeding Specialist) -This is a stepping stone to becoming an IBCLC. The credential is awarded after completing a list of courses.
CBE (Certified Breastfeeding Educator) – Completed the training course.
CLE (Certified Lactation Educator)- They educate, counsel, and support families by providing information about lactation and breastfeeding. Completed a certificate program.
LLLL (LLL Leader)- Peer support counselors that have completed the LLL leader course.