What’s a lactation consultant?
A lactation consultant is an expert in lactation (i.e. breastfeeding). They help with breastfeeding challenges for mums and babies, including high-risk babies and oral assessment, as well as common issues. Their goal is helping mums breastfeed for as long as they’re able to, or want to.
Lactation consultants work in a variety of places: NHS hospitals, community services, voluntary organisations, and private practices.
What training or accreditation do Peppy’s lactation consultants need to have?
We only allow International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) with valid registration and professional indemnity insurance to join Peppy. IBCLCs are regulated by the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLC), and Lactation Consultants of Great Britain (LCGB) is the UK’s governing professional body.
To become an IBCLC, you need 90+ hours of breastfeeding education in five years before qualification, and 1,000+ contact hours with breastfeeding families.
Many IBCLCs are registered or retired nurses or midwives. Those who don’t have a background as a health professional need to have an education in 14 health science subjects to be accredited.
IBCLCs have to be recertified every five years. They either need 15 hours of continuing education each year, or to take an exam. IBCLCs work within a code of professional conduct.
Why should I work with a lactation consultant?
Lactation consultants can help at any stage of the breastfeeding journey. They tackle issues like sore nipples, inadequate milk production, and babies’ difficulties with breastfeeding.
An IBCLC lactation consultant can assess the anatomy of mother and baby, referring them to other specialist services if it’s needed. Visit lcgb.org for a list of breastfeeding support services.
What’s the difference between an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a breastfeeding counsellor/ support worker?
An IBCLC has a professional qualification that’s accredited to international standards. They’re able to assess and deal with more complex situations (i.e. high-risk babies) as well as more common breastfeeding issues.
A breastfeeding support worker is typically a woman who’s breastfed her own children. They’ve generally received training to support other mums with common breastfeeding issues, and often work on a voluntary basis for not-for-profit organisations or in the community.
There are lots of people who can support and inform breastfeeding families. The most important thing is that you get the type of breastfeeding support that suits you best.
This information is approved by Lactation Consultants of Great Britain.