lpn wants to be lactation consultant


Specializes in rehab. Has 2 years experience.

i am an lpn and i would like to become a lactation consultant. i am confused about how to obtain hours because most places wont hire an lpn to work in ob. i understand you need a certain amount of hours then you can sit for the exam? i saw courses for certified breastfeeding instructor but what is the difference, where can you get a job as just a certified breasfeeding instructor? is there any certification classes or something where i can find a job in the ob area? i guess not working in an ob area now as an lpn is leaving me very unclear and i dont know which direction to take to further my career as an ob nurse or lactation consultant. i would even consider being a doula, would that count as hours and how do you get work as a doula? any words of advise will be appreciated...


Specializes in OB, (L&D, PP, & Nursery). Has 13 years experience. 5 Posts

Are you going for your CLC (Certified Lactation Consultant)? If so, I thought that it was necessary to attend a seminar and then take the exam. At least around here (in Ohio), that's what they do. I wasn't aware of any need for clinical hours to do so. At a local level three hospital, an AWESOME lac consultant is an LPN, and I'm certain she has not had any OB experience prior.

I am not a LC (I'm a fan of breastfeeding, but simply lack the patience, LOL), but those who have attended those seminars have left with a wealth of information. It's kinda pricey, but really worth it if it's something you really want to do. Good luck!!


Specializes in rehab. Has 2 years experience. 15 Posts

thank you for the information, i will have to look into something like that


754 Posts

Where I live a lactation consultant is a MSN prepared nurse with special certification

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery. 17 Articles; 5,259 Posts

Will hospitals in your area hire LPNs to work in postpartum/mother-baby? That is the quickest way I know to get your hours in, and they add up really fast if you're a floor nurse. A good 1/4 of your time AT least is spent helping w/ breastfeeding in some way. That's the best way, and I know you expressed concern about whether LPNs will be hired on an OB floor. It might be in your long-term best interest to become an RN if nowhere you know will hire LPNs. Having said that, not all our LCs on our floor are nurses. What I don't know is how they got all their hours, which is kind of what you're asking.

Either way, best of luck to you. :)

Edited by ElvishDNP


Specializes in NICU. Has 6 years experience. 459 Posts

In my state, patient education is not in the LPN scope of practice, so lactation consulting would probably not fall in the LPN scope of practice, even with the additional education. On the other hand, although our lactation consultants are experienced NICU RNs, I'm not sure it's actually required to be a nurse. There are two separate things. One is to become a lactation counselor, which is a 40 hour course offered around the country. I think this is mainly aimed at nurses who provide breastfeeding support. On the other hand, a lactation consultant is certified by ILCA http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1. There are definitely clinical hours required to be a lactation consultant, but I think they can be obtained by interning with a lactation consultant. You would probably learn a lot this way rather than gaining hours giving lactation support on your own. I think you can be a lactation consultant without being an RN due to the significantly increased amount of education to become one rather than just a counselor. I'm not an expert, but this is what I have learned from our lactation consultants.


101 Posts

These are two different things--IBCLC and LC (CLC). Then, to add to the confusion, there's CLE (certified lactation educator). :p

CLC and CLE are certified through independent bodies. Usually you take a course (hours depend on the body) and you become certified through that body. The education and knowledge base of the CLC/CLE varies depends on where they obtained their certification.

IBCLCs are required to have specific education (varies, but must follow exam blueprint) obtained through an accredited entity and a specific number of supervised contact hours. After completion of the required education, you can that apply to sit the exam. Here is more information from IBLCE: http://americas.iblce.org/

Just for clarification, ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) does not certify lactation consultants. ILCA is the professional organization for IBCLCs. :)

If you want a career in lactation, then becoming an IBCLC is what you're looking for. To obtain the required hours when you don't work with mother and baby dyads on a regular basis, you can find an IBCLC mentor, volunteer with an organization that accredits and supervises volunteers (such as La Leche League), become a WIC peer counselor, etc. If you want to find out how you can obtain hours in your specific situation, contact IBCLE directly. They'd be happy to help you discover which pathway you need to take.

Good luck! :D