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becoming a lactation consultant?

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by CEG CEG Member

Does anyone know of any programs to become certified as a lactation consultant? I would like to do this now, but the only program (IBLCE) I have seen you have to have many hours experience helping breastfeeding women. Do any of you know of any "entry level" certifications or courses for someone without experience? I am a student but I would like to do something like this now. Thanks!

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

Does anyone know of any programs to become certified as a lactation consultant? I would like to do this now, but the only program (IBLCE) I have seen you have to have many hours experience helping breastfeeding women. Do any of you know of any "entry level" certifications or courses for someone without experience? I am a student but I would like to do something like this now. Thanks!

Anyone can call herself a "lactation consultant." The title is not protected the way "nurse" is. However, an IBCLC certification is considered the gold standard. In order to become certifed as an IBCLC, you do need to have a certain number of consultancy hours accrued (dependant upon your level of education). The easiest way to accrue these hours is by becoming a La Leche League Leader or WIC peer counselor. Both of these give you 500 hours/year of active service. Other ways to accrue consultancy hours is by working under a board certified LC in a hospital or clinic setting.

There are also shorter training seminars or classes that give you a CLE or CLC title (lactation educator or lactation counselor), but again, they're just not the same thing as being able to claim an IBCLC title.

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I totally second what klone wrote!!!

You may like to look here under "professional info"; scroll to "offerings for professionals" & "offerings for lay practitioners" for more education ideas:

http://www.geocities.com/breastfeedinglinks/

This place has a good reputation in the way of lactation education:

http://www.healthychildren.cc/

Their courses do confer CERP's that could eventually be used toward IBCLC certification (continuing education credits from the Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners).

Also, if you are interested in learning more, these books are all great:

Breastfeeding and Human Lactation

The Breastfeeding Answer Book

Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession

Medications and Mother's Milk (A Manual of Lactional Pharmacology)

Milk, Money, and Madness

You can also learn a lot from the Lactnet list serv:

http://peach.ease.lsoft.com/archives/lactnet.html

I am a lay counselor for 4 years now, hoping to sit the board exam for IBCLC next summer (I think Klone and I have similar experience)... I am also currently taking a graduate level lactation course with Jan Riordan, the author of Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. I would be happy to answer any questions you have: mitchsmom@excite.com

Best wishes & have fun!!

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 15 years experience.

I am a lay counselor for 4 years now, hoping to sit the board exam for IBCLC next summer (I think Klone and I have similar experience)...

2007 for me. :) I need to focus on my RN first.

Mitchsmom - do you have any experience, either firsthand or indirect, with the BreastEd courses? I was thinking of doing that to get my LCERPs. Or would you recommend one of the week-long seminars in various cities that seem to cost several hundred $?

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I don't have first hand experience with either one but I think they both have good reputations. If the IBLCE is letting their courses confer LCERPS then they must be at least meeting their guidelines.

I can't remember who does the HealthE Learning courses and I don't see it offhand on the site, it looks like it's through Australia (which of course there are a lot of well respected bf people there). I think the people that run both that and the healthy children (center for bf) were at the ILCA convention in Boca in 2002 (I know the healthy children/center for bf was b/c I got on thier mailing list there, they offer university BS/MS/PhD level work as well as the week long intensive "CLC" courses.) I know some of their instructor's names, have seen them around the bf "community" and most have publications, etc.: http://www.healthychildren.cc/faculty.htm

HealthE Learning would be awfully convenient (online) while Center for BF would be convenient because it's a lot of CERPS in a short time if you can commit to the whole 5 days.

I tried to get my BSN program to approve one of the week long courses through Center for BF for my nursing elective, but they wouldn't do it for various reasons (wasn't b/c of the quality). That's why I'm doing J. Riordan's class - my school is going to accept it, it is online, and it confers 45 LCERPS as well (plus it's with J. Riordan and I knew her book was a big standard).

I am not sure if I'll be eligible for the 2005 board exam or not... I am teetering on the edge of having the hours/CERPS, etc. so I have really got to call the IBLCE and figure it out. I wanted to get it so I would have it before I graduate and look for a job, if possible, plus I was halfway thinking of going to the LLLI convention in D.C. next summer and could take it immediately following it, but we'll see! :)

edit: PS.. the week long courses seem really expensive but when you compare prices it's not really that bad b/c you are getting a lot of LCERPS. LCERPS just cost a lot of money no matter where you get them - through LLLI, conferences, Journal of Human Lactation, etc... they are all costly... so be sure to keep in mind how many LCERPS you are getting for your money when you are deciding (as I'm sure you are)

Start out taking a 40 hour course to become a lactation COUNSELOR. Then after you do that, get lots of hands on experience. That's a good base for later taking the IBCLC exam. IN order to even take the exam, you have to have about 2500 hours of breastfeeding teaching under your belt before you are even eligible to take the exam. For example, I took that 40 hour course back in '98, spent 6 years teaching breastfeeding classes and teaching my patients on the unit and then I took (and passed) the IBCLC exam. It is an international exam given around the world once a year. Take your time with that. It is expensive and not easy! Good luck.

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