Breastfeeding is one of the lifelong gifts that are also important to manage the health of both mothers and babies. We know that both babies and mothers reap numerous health benefits from breastfeeding. Lactation consultants play a vital role in providing clinical support to breastfeeding mothers. Most importantly, they provide breastfeeding education and related advice to expecting and new mothers. Even this will help nursing mothers address any problems while arise in the breastfeeding relationship.
The benefits of breastfeeding are also listed based on the Centers for Disease Control; this will help lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mothers and help get rid of various issues, including a reduction in the ear and gastrointestinal infections, respiratory, etc.
Role Of Lactation Consultant:
Now the demand for lactation consultants has also increased, so many individuals like to choose this career. In general, Lactation consultants work independently or play a vital role in hospitals or physicians’ offices, lactation centers, etc. Even some health care professionals, including nurses, midwives, doctors, train to become lactation consultants to cover the needs of their breastfeeding patients. Of course, it is simple to become a lactation consultant.
However, Public health also supports breastfeeding even it is also galvanized in recent years. According to the CDC, more than ten percent of mothers chose to start out breastfeeding their babies, and this also 26 percent increase in maternity care practices supports breastfeeding in hospitals (CDC 2019).
How To Start A Lactation Consultant Career?
Usually, several pathways are available to becoming a lactation consultant, so you need to focus on the exact requirements. In general, there are no state-level licensing requirements for choosing this career, but there are accredited educational programs; this also includes board certification exams which can help to prove professional qualifications.
Most importantly, the Lactation consultants with more credentials can explore more opportunities. Even the expect have a more comprehensive option of career opportunities along with higher salaries. Everyone knows that Lactation consultants can pursue training in three distinctive pathways that include
- Undergraduate certificate programs or Trade school
- Bachelor’s degree programs in any one of the fields like health sciences, nursing, or public health are also essential to get a lactation consultant certificate
- Master’s degree programs in the following field like health sciences, nursing, or public health with a lactation consultant certificate
These are the most critical pathways that enable aspiring lactation consultants to pursue certification. Some employers also require more specific degrees in nursing, health sciences, and the RLC board certification from the IBLCE.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Professional Lactation Consultant?
In general, the time needed to become a lactation consultant is from one to five years. Even all three IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) pathways require applicants to invest 90 hours of lactation-specific courses in five years before applying to take the exam.
Even the number of supervised clinical hours also ranges between 300 to 1,000 hours, and it may vary depending on the educational and professional qualifications of an applicant. If you need to become a lactation consultant, you must focus on the eligibility criteria and take the proper course to get good experience and knowledge.
Step-by-Step Guide to Become a Lactation Consultant:
- Get Graduation from High School or Earn a GED (Four Years)
- Complete Prerequisite Courses
- Enroll in an Accredited Program
- Total supervised practicum hours. In general, the Timeline Varies based on some factors.
- Pass IBCLC Licensing Exam
What Do Lactation Consultants Do?
Typically the Lactation consultants teach nursing skills for new mothers & infants, and this will be helpful for mothers to overcome challenges with breastfeeding. Even they can also carry out the different number of services to empower mothers to nurse their infants,
- Advising parents regarding breast pumps
- Sharing knowledge with parents
- Teaching postpartum mothers
- Instructing expectant parents
- Helping to position mothers and babies
- Performing weight checks of mothers and infants
Lactation Consultants are helpful in a different way, and the need for lactation consultants is also increasing because of developing markets. In general, lactation consultant professionals also care for breastfeeding families. Even the professionals put efforts into improving breastfeeding. It is the critical position that has responsibilities for promoting breastfeeding mothers and babies.