How to Become a Certified Lactation Consultant

Is becoming a lactation consultant hard? Here is all you should know about becoming a breastfeeding consultant.

You’ve probably come across this article while searching for something related to the content or specifically interested in becoming a lactation consultant. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will find all the relevant information you need to start your journey.

How to Become a Lactation Consultant

The healthcare industry consists of a wide range of specializations.

Persons aspiring or aiming toward a specific specialization will need detailed guidance on how to proceed. In this article, our focus will be on one of these specializations, becoming a lactation consultant.

As the name suggests, a lactation consultant is a healthcare professional specializing in breastfeeding issues. These nursing professionals provide critical help to new moms.

This clinical management of lactation and breastfeeding is what defines these professionals.

You’ll find registered nurses or midwives also having certifications as lactation consultants. Lactation consultants need to obtain the necessary certificates to practice.

With the details supplied below, aspiring lactation consultants can see what needs to be done to achieve their objectives.

Roles of Lactation Consultants

The roles or responsibilities of lactation consultants are multiple.

After completing the lactation consultant training program, you get to perform roles that include advising parents on breast bumps, performing weight checks on infants, and educating parents about infant nutrition.

Other responsibilities include teaching postpartum mothers proper identification of latch and helping with the appropriate position of babies and mothers.

Accurate and timely electronic documentation of patient medical records is another responsibility.

As a lactation consultant, you also communicate and implement policy and procedural changes. Training and assisting nursing staff in breastfeeding and lactation is another critical responsibility.

These and several others are some of the duties you’ll have to perform.

So how do you become a lactation consultant? Let’s look at the process.

Becoming an IBCLC-Certified Lactation Consultant

To achieve your desire to become a lactation consultant, you’ll need a basic idea of what’s involved.

The main procedures include meeting the basic educational requirements, getting certified, and landing your first entry-level job.

You’ll need to undertake further training and certification to advance in your career.

This is a route you can take while holding your current position. Of course, you’re updating your education to find more suitable employment that further advances your career.

An updated CV will be essential to finding the right job. With this done, you should be prepared for an interview. With these points highlighted, let’s look at each for better comprehension.

i. Education Requirements for Lactation Consultant

The first step toward becoming a lactation consultant is getting trained.

There are specific programs you’ll need to apply to. Training schools like community colleges or colleges offer a variety of allied health programs.

Through such training, you earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and lactation certification. To enroll in the program, you’ll have to pursue related degrees like public health or health sciences.

Earning an advanced degree significantly impacts your career as it opens up more opportunities. For example, a master’s degree in nursing or other related fields will go a long way in placing you on the right path.

The study will typically cover relevant coursework. Programs will also offer you the opportunity for internships while also allowing you to gain clinical experience.

This sets the stage for success in your role as a lactation consultant.

How long does it take to become a lactation consultant? You should be done within 1-5 years depending on your choice of IBCLC pathways.

ii. Getting Certified

Certification is an essential part of the process of becoming a lactation consultant.

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) is the primary certification body. You’ll need to sit for exams required for such certification.

Apart from setting the minimum standards for all lactation consultancy services, most employers include this certification as part of the hiring requirement.

The National Commission accredits the IBLCE for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

To get certified as a lactation consultant, you must have obtained relevant training with a minimum of 90 hours of lactation-specific courses offered over a stipulated period.

You must have also put in a specified amount of practicum hours to sit for this certification exam.

iii. Landing your First Entry-Level Job

With certification obtained, your next objective should be to find entry-level roles or jobs to get started. This helps with getting the necessary experience, a crucial aspect of the position.

Examples of places you can apply for such jobs include maternity departments and birth centers, amongst others.

You also have to be intentional in the job or roles you seek, as you’ll need those relevant to your training.

With the correct position, the experience gained proves crucial to helping you achieve your goal of becoming a lactation consultant.

iv. Get Further Training & Certification

As part of the steps involved, further training and certification will be required to become a fully-fledged lactation consultant.

Multiple training and certification bodies offer such to professionals seeking to advance their careers.

These certification types include Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) and Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC).

Under the CLE certification, you can attend 20-hour lactation educational courses sponsored by the Childbirth & Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA).

v. Update your CV

Having earned the relevant credentials required for becoming a lactation consultant, you’ll need to ensure your CV is updated to highlight such.

You can seek the help of an expert in ensuring keywords are included to attract the attention of employers when sifting through many applications.

One great tip can help ensure your resume is modified to specific roles or jobs. In other words, continuously tweaking your resume is necessary when using it in different positions.

vi. Prepare for an Interview

Having applied for a lactation consultant position, you’ll have to be prepared for an interview as they can contact you anytime.

To do well, you’ll need to research possible interview questions that you may ask.

Discussing with friends or mentors will bring up valuable tips to follow. You may also need to research the nature of questions asked and appropriate answers.

These are tips on becoming a lactation consultant. By following these procedures, you can realize your objective without much difficulty.