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Lactation/ Breastfeeding educator/consultant?

Hey everyone...

I haven't seen really anything devoted to this subject. For a long time I have wanted to do something like breastfeeding consulting. I just started nursing school in the fall and its a LPN program. I *think I remember reading that I would need an RN for something like this?

I remember when I had my second child, some very young woman came into my hospital room trying to awkwardly trying to help me but it pretty apparent that she had never nursed a kid herself....and being an advocate of it, I have always thought this was something I would like to pursue.

Anyone have anything that could lead me in that direction. I really have no desire to go through a lalechee *spelling fumbled type education.

Thanks :)

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

Hey everyone...

I haven't seen really anything devoted to this subject. For a long time I have wanted to do something like breastfeeding consulting. I just started nursing school in the fall and its a LPN program. I *think I remember reading that I would need an RN for something like this?

I remember when I had my second child, some very young woman came into my hospital room trying to awkwardly trying to help me but it pretty apparent that she had never nursed a kid herself....and being an advocate of it, I have always thought this was something I would like to pursue.

Anyone have anything that could lead me in that direction. I really have no desire to go through a lalechee *spelling fumbled type education.

Thanks :)

Google IBCLE, which stands for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. You can read their education and practice requirements. I'm pretty sure that an RN is not required to become a board-certified lactation consultant, although it certainly can't hurt!

Thanks! Why didn't I think of that? :)

Google IBCLE, which stands for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. You can read their education and practice requirements. I'm pretty sure that an RN is not required to become a board-certified lactation consultant, although it certainly can't hurt!

I would be sure to be board-certified if you want to do this on a fulltime basis as an LC.

Google IBCLE, which stands for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. You can read their education and practice requirements. I'm pretty sure that an RN is not required to become a board-certified lactation consultant, although it certainly can't hurt!

There are many different types of lactation training, the most extensive one being the IBCLC exam. However, in order to qualify for that, you have to have years of working in the fireld before you are even qualified to sit for the exam. I had to document at least 2500 of actual teaching along with my other requirements in order to take it (which I did this past summer). After one takes and passes the exam, one is a board certified lactation consultant. One may not use the term consultant otherwise.

I would suggest the shorter courses as a good introduction to see if you are really interested in pursuing the full certification. There are 3 day courses and then the next step up is a week long 40 hour course which then qualifies you to be a CLC which is a certified lactation counselor or a CLE which is a certified lactation educator.

The more experience you have the better. The qualifications/pathways to the IBCLC are varied but require an RN and/or a 4 year degree, and as I said, varied amounts of actual hands-on experience. Then (as with the shorter courses) there is a requirement for a certain number of CEU's every 5 years or so to renew. It's ongoing and important that it is because trends and information changes and is updated on a regular basis.

I worked as a CLC for about 10 years before I took the IBCLC exam. It isn't easy but I am glad I did it.

Check out iblce.org.

The qualifications/pathways to the IBCLC are varied but require an RN and/or a 4 year degree, and as I said, varied amounts of actual hands-on experience.

You do not have to be an RN or have a 4 year degree to become an IBCLC.

Unless something drastic has happened in the last year or so.

You do not have to be an RN or have a 4 year degree to become an IBCLC.

Unless something drastic has happened in the last year or so.

You either have to have a 4 year college degree (in something), or be an RN with at LEAST an Associates degree before you are eligible.

If you have the RN and Associates, you have to have 4000 of documented clinical teaching time with patients. if you have a Bachelor's, you have to have 2500 hours.

All pathways have to have a minimum of 45 hours of continuing education in the three years prior to taking the exam also.

All that is listed on the website if anyone is interested.

KRVRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU.

You don't have to have an RN, but some hospitals (mine, for instance) won't hire LC's that aren't nurses. I don't know why. You may have to shop around a little bit more when you look for a job. But a LPN is a nurse too so maybe it won't be a problem.

Thanks everyone for all of the info. I have a local LC who has also given me some info. She also says that I might be able to work with a LC in the hospital. I'm thinking even that would be fine. I dont necessarily need to wear the title of *Lacation Consultant* but just really wish to help other nursing mothers.

Thanks everyone for all of the info. I have a local LC who has also given me some info. She also says that I might be able to work with a LC in the hospital. I'm thinking even that would be fine. I dont necessarily need to wear the title of *Lacation Consultant* but just really wish to help other nursing mothers.

Helping is one thing but in this day and age of law suits, you can never be too careful. Most LC's carry malpractice insurance.

Thanks everyone for all of the info. I have a local LC who has also given me some info. She also says that I might be able to work with a LC in the hospital. I'm thinking even that would be fine. I dont necessarily need to wear the title of *Lacation Consultant* but just really wish to help other nursing mothers.

You might want to consider getting involved with la Leche League. Many of them are IBCLC's and all are interested in helping new mothers. Their meetings are wonderful and geared to the new mother. You could be of help to lots of mothers that way and not be letting yourself in for as much potential liability.

You either have to have a 4 year college degree (in something), or be an RN with at LEAST an Associates degree before you are eligible.

I still have to disagree with you on this point. I am refering to: http://www.iblce.org/pathways.htm

"Pathway B

At least two (2) full years of post-secondary academic credit; or an Associate degree (AA), including a diploma RN;

Plus a minimum of 4000 hours of practice as a breastfeeding consultant;

Plus a minimum of 45-hours of education specific to breastfeeding within three (3) years immediately prior to taking the exam. "

"Pathway E

Exceptions based on individual cases for potential candidates who do not meet the educational background required by Pathway A or Pathway B.

The total number of breastfeeding consultancy (BC) hours required is related to your post-secondary educational background.

Usually 6000 to 8000 BC practice hours are required;

Plus a minimum of 45-clock hours of education that reflects the exam blueprint content outline, taken within 3 years immediately prior to taking the exam.

Pathway E* exceptions must be requested in a letter accompanying your completed exam application form. "

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

BetsRN, Bruucebuff said in her original post " I really have no desire to go through a lalechee *spelling fumbled type education." (It's La Leche League)... although Bruucebuff, I'm kind of curious why you say that? I think it's great that you have found a good path for yourself that you are happy with but it just made me wonder. :confused:

They are one of, if not the, biggest authority on breastfeeding and for many people it's a viable way to accumulate consultancy hours toward IBCLC (Leaders typically get 500 hours per year from the IBLCE). If you aren't an RN or WIC breastfeeding educator working with babies all the time, it's really hard to get that kind of hours. Just something to consider since IBCLC is really the "gold standard".

Since LLL breastfeeding education is evidence-based, it's the same education that you are going to attain from any reputable breastfeeding education place... as a matter of fact the IBCLE was founded by La Leche League! Many of the brightest IBCLC's, lactation researchers, and authors out there started out, or still are, LLL Leaders. LLLI also has a working relationship with professional organizations such as the AAP, ACOG, WHO, etc.

I'm not pushing anything- I only ask because occasionally I encounter people who have heard misinformation about La Leche or who have gotten the wrong impression somehow. I like to welcome the opportunity to clarify doubts or questions that people may have about it. Regardless of affiliation, I think all of us working with new moms and babies should operate out of mutual respect and collaboration in order to have the best outcomes for the dyads. :) There are lots of ways to work toward that (positive outcomes).

Helping is one thing but in this day and age of law suits, you can never be too careful. Most LC's carry malpractice insurance.

Im thinking terms of working with.....and of course. I would think as a nurse I would have malpractice insurance as well.

BetsRN, she said in her original post " I really have no desire to go through a lalechee *spelling fumbled type education." (It's La Leche League)... although Bruucebuff, I'm kind of curious why you say that?

They are one of, if not the, biggest authority on breastfeeding and for many people it's a viable way to accumulate consultancy hours toward IBCLC (Leaders typically get 500 hours per year from the IBLCE). If you aren't an RN or WIC breastfeeding educator working with babies all the time, it's hard to get that kind of hours.

I only ask because occasionally I encounter people who have heard misinformation about La Leche.

Hm....why not La leche? Firstly, its appears that its a major process going through the whole certification just to be a leader. I was never a member. Somehow I thought you had to be. I could be wrong, though. Im not sure...I think a big part of my feelings towards not wanting to work through the LaLeche is that I am not currently nursing one of my own kids. Its something to investigate, perhaps.

Yes, the whole hours thing has me wondering where I would get that much time consulting....without a certification. I knew of the WIC peer counseling.

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

LOL... I think I continued editing that post above while you were responding ;)

Hm....why not La leche? Firstly, its appears that its a major process going through the whole certification just to be a leader. I was never a member.

You do have to be a member to get accredited, but you can become one anytime. I know people who weren't members until they started accreditation. It is a process, but it helps you to be well prepared, and you are allowed to pace yourself, there aren't rigid deadlines or anything.

.I think a big part of my feelings towards not wanting to work through the LaLeche is that I am not currently nursing one of my own kids.

I see where you are coming from, but really there are a lot of Leaders that continue on years and years after their own kids... I even know of a few whose daughters grew up and became Leaders too... while mom (grandma at that point) is still an active Leader! :pinkheart

Yes, the whole hours thing has me wondering where I would get that much time consulting....without a certification. I knew of the WIC peer counseling.

WIC peer counselors are usually trained via LLL if I'm not mistaken (at least I know they have a peer counseling training program and do at least some WIC ones, if not all), and that is another option. I'm not sure how many hours they are awarded, they may have to keep a log, but the IBCLE is pretty strict about it... hours have to be direct one on one consultancy hours done independently (not assisting another counselor/LC). That would be a good question though.

Hope that helps some, it can be convoluted, huh?

PS...

LLLI Peer Counselor Program

http://laleche.org/ed/PeerCounsel.html

How Can LLL Help Me Become a Lactation Consultant?

http://laleche.org/FAQ/LC.html

mitchsmom

Specializes in OB, lactation.

I forgot, here's also some good info on chosing lactation education courses:

Guide to Selecting a Lactation Management Course

http://www.ilca.org/education/courseguide.php

and a good listing of places that meet ILCA/IBCLE type standards:

http://www.ilca.org/education/courselistings.php

I am using one of the places on the list right now for LCERPS (continuing education credits) that I need to sit the board exam in July and I'm happy with them: Health-e-Learning

Thanks Mitchs Mom! I definitely want to consider this in the future :) Lots of great information!!

You do not have to be an RN or have a 4 year degree to become an IBCLC.

Unless something drastic has happened in the last year or so.

Thats correct, just look at the IBCLC web site and it lists the qualifications for a layperson, AD, BSN ect.

Thats correct, just look at the IBCLC web site and it lists the qualifications for a layperson, AD, BSN ect.

Make sure you look at the list of qualifications BEFORE you start to make sure you can meet the requirements. The number of actual hands on hours of documented lactation experience is what will stop most candidates because unless you have a lactation/medical/nursing background, it takes a lot of time BEFORE you can even qualify to sit for the exam. Even with these backgrounds, it takes a lot of time to accumulate (for instance) 2500-4000 hours of practice. You also ahve to have a documented number of continuing education credits (CEU's) to meet the requirement.

A great place to start, as someone already mentioned is to become a WIC peer counselor and then to take one of the 40 hour courses and become a "lactation counselor." A lactation counselor is NOT a lactation consultant. From there, as you gain experience and collect the hours necessary to qualify for the boards, you will be providing a valuable service while you wait.

I am very glad that I went ahead and took the exam. It took me years of teaching to accumulate the hours necessary for me to qualify initially. It is not a program to be undertaken without advanced planning so you ahve everything you need behind you.

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