What is an IBCLC?
An Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) is a member of your health care team who has a specialist knowledge of, and primary focus on, breastfeeding.
They are the consultants whom mothers and other health professionals turn to when skilled assistance is required.
With a focus on preventive health care, IBCLCs encourage self-care, empowering parents to make their own decisions, prenatally and postnatally.
IBCLCs use a problem solving approach to provide appropriate information, recommendations and referrals. They work in a variety of settings.
IBCLCs have passed a rigorous certification exam and keep their knowledge and skills up to date through a compulsory recertification program. They are required to practice within a Code of Ethics.
What is a Lactation Consultation?
A lactation consultation is a professional appointment with an IBCLC. The consultation can take place either in your home or in an office setting. The initial session usually takes approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours to complete.
Lactation consultation sessions include:
Taking a prenatal, birth, and feeding history.
Observation of a feeding; milk expression; appearance of the mother, her breast, the baby, and milk (if seen); pre- and post-feeding weights to measure volume of intake at the breast, and any other information that may be pertinent.
A feeding assessment, where the consultant carefully and critically observes the baby’s feeding cues, pre-feeding behaviors, and response to the feeding, as well as the ability to transfer milk – a complex, integrated activity.
Documenting the findings and composing a summary of the plan agreed upon by the mother and the consultant, which includes any referrals to other care providers and support services.
Giving a copy of the plan to the mother and reiterating follow-up arrangements.
Writing a summary and communicating with pertinent health care providers. Conducting follow-up meetings and/or phone calls, as long as needed, with subsequent documentation and sharing of the plan.