Lactation educators (also sometimes called lactation counselors or lactation specialists) provide basic breastfeeding education and support to women and their families.
Lactation Educator's Job Responsibilities:
Teaching prenatal breastfeeding classes.
Renting and selling breast pumps.
Answering calls on breastfeeding information lines.
Providing one-on-one breastfeeding education to new mothers during their hospital stay.
Education delivered by lactation educators includes:
Advantages of breastfeeding
Strategies to overcome common breastfeeding barriers
The impact of various labor and delivery intervention on breastfeeding success
How to get breastfeeding off to a good start
How to maintain milk supply when separated from a baby (i.e., a separation due to illness, stay in the NICU, return to work or school, or brief separation)
Where to access breastfeeding resources locally
Lactation educators also make referrals appropriately when concerns are beyond their scope of practice (i.e., to a lactation consultant, pediatrician, doctor).
Where Do Lactation Educators Work?
Woman Infant and Child (WIC) programs
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
What Is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)?
An IBCLC is a healthcare professional trained to provide clinical expertise in the management of lactation from pregnancy through weaning. The IBCLC credential is the highest credential in the field of lactation.
International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant’s (IBCLCs) Job Responsibilities:
The IBCLC, like the lactation educator, can provide women and their families with basic breastfeeding education on the normal course of breastfeeding.
The IBCLC also has the clinical expertise to assist mother/baby dyads with more complex breastfeeding problems, including but not limited to assisting a mother/baby dyad when:
The mother has a low milk supply.
The breastfed infant is not adequately gaining weight