What does a Lactation Educator Do?
Lactation Educators (also sometimes called Lactation Counselors or Lactation Specialist) provide basic breastfeeding education and support to women and their families.
Education delivered by lactation educators includes but is not limited to the following:
- 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.¹ (i.e., to a lactation consultant, pediatrician, doctor)
Lactation Educators job responsibilities may include:
Teaching prenatal breastfeeding classes.
Providing one on one breastfeeding education to new mothers during their hospital stay.
Answering calls on breastfeeding information lines.
Renting and selling breast pumps.
Where Do Lactation Educators Work?
- Medical groups
- Woman Infant and Child (WIC) programs
- Breastfeeding stores.
How Much Training is Required to Become a Lactation Educator?
- Lactation Educator training courses provide individuals with the opportunity to develop basic knowledge and skills need to educate mothers and families on non-clinical basic breastfeeding problems.
- Currently there are many lactation educator training courses in the United States
- Training hours of Lactation Educator courses range anywhere from 20 – 45 hours.