Lactation consultant


Hi, I am a nursing student who will be graduating in December of 2017. I am looking for anyone who is a lactation consultant or is familiar with the job.

I have been a nurse tech in ICU for almost 6 months now, and I really like it. I like the complexity of the cases in ICU, the detailed-oriented assessments and treatments. It seems like it is worthwhile as a nurse because you are putting skills to use and often.

I just completed my OB rotation at school. I liked the rotation way more than I thought I would, and I really fell in love with is breastfeeding. Watching the birth of a baby is amazing, but watching a baby latch after only minutes to hour in their new environment is just awesome. Everything about breastfeeding I want to promote and I want to help mothers and babies and to me it almost seems like specializing in "newborn nutrition", lol.

How many lactation consultants are out there? Is there a job field? Does your hospital have a lactation "nurse" that isn't certified? Any info into this would be much appreciated!

Specializes in LDRP.

Pretty much every hospital with a maternity ward will have at least one lactation consultant. We have 1 for L&D/PP and 1 in the NICU. There are also outpatient jobs out there for lactation consultants for mothers to follow up with once they leave the hospital. In my experience LCs usually have a ton of experience in either L&D or PP nursing prior to getting a LC gig.

To be a lactation consultant in a hospital setting you will need to be IBCLC certified. That requires a certain amount of hours working in an area with breastfeeding mothers. Here's some info: Preparing for IBCLC Certification | IBLCE

I talked to our lactation consultant about it a few times because it's something I am interested in, and she said getting certified is pretty difficult. The test is really hard, and there is a lot of continuing education to keep up with.

We also have an educator that is a CLC (certified lactation counselor). This is a little less difficult to obtain than the IBCLC. She sometimes teaches our antepartum and postpartum breastfeeding classes and is there as a resource similar to the lactation consultant.

Your best bet is to work in L&D or PP for a couple years before trying to become a lactation consultant, so you can really become an expert at helping with breastfeeding. Taking a course and passing a test is okay, but nothing beats the hands on experience. I spend a majority of my shift getting babies to latch and troubleshooting breastfeeding issues in postpartum. I also do a ton of breastfeeding education, especially on night shift when we have no LC on--there is no one to defer to when you run into an issue so the PP RNs just have to make it work. Look for a Baby Friendly hospital, as they will be very Breastfeeding centered and educate you extensively on breastfeeding as part of your training.

You could also look into working with La Leche League or something similar. I think they are volunteer though.

klone, MSN, RN

14,487 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

The pathway to become an IBCLC is much easier/faster now than it was several years ago. Ashley, I would say that if it interests you, you should go for it. I didn't find the exam particularly difficult.