When my oldest was born, I had no idea what I was doing. In the hospital I had a nurse help me latch him. It was uncomfortable, but I knew it was what needed to be done. The next morning (he was born in the middle of the night) an IBCLC came to see us. She was so kind, giving me lots of tips and encouragement, she helped latch him, checked his latch, and made sure I was comfortable nursing. When I told her I had no clue how to do this, she set up an appt with me, for 2 days later, to make sure things were going well.
I saw that lactation consultant every three days for 2 weeks. When my baby developed jaundice,and it kept going up, and not down. The lactation consultant started testing him in her office. She let me know that if the Dr wanted to me to supplement I should, but I should pump and use my own milk to supplement, not to give in and give him formula. That lactation consultant saved my breastfeeding relationship, she taught me a bit about nursing, and she spurred on my passion for nursing, and learning more about it.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that not every mom has such a helpful lactation consultant; that some moms are lucky if they even see a lactation consultant at all while in the hospital. As my baby got older I learned of more and more moms that were being incorrect information by their Dr’s, and being booby trapped into no longer nursing. My passion overtook me and I began to seek out ways to help moms become more aware of what their body was capable of.
A lot of moms feel the same way. They learn, they grow, they become passionate and they want to help out their fellow moms. A great way to help out other moms, and really nurture growing breastfeeding relationships, is to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
The path to becoming an IBCLC is a long one, but it is definitely do-able. There are three pathways to becoming an IBCLC.
Pathway 1 is for those who are already in a field of work that deals with breastfeeding moms, women who have worked or volunteered with breastfeeding moms in the past five years, or women who can easily volunteer with breastfeeding moms or be employed where they would be working with breastfeeding moms. You need at least 1000 hours of volunteer/employed work directly helping breastfeeding moms.
For pathway 1 you need at least a general education in health science, 14 subject minimum, 90 hours of education in human lactation and breastfeeding, plus the 1000 hours of clinical practice with breastfeeding moms.
Pathway 1 is best suited for health care professionals (nurses, Ob’s, midwives, physicians, dieticians, etc.) or breastfeeding/mother support counselors.
Pathway 2 is for moms who, within the previous five years, have taken a course through 1 of 4 accredited academic institutions (4 institutions can be found through the link at the bottom of the blog), plus you will need at least a general education in health science, 14 subject minimum, 90 hours of education in human lactation and breastfeeding, plus the 300 hours of clinical practice with breastfeeding moms, supervised by an IBCLC who will report back to your academic institution.
Pathway 3 is designed for women that would not be able to find volunteer or work positions helping breastfeeding moms. You must have a file with IBCLE, and construct an apprenticeship/mentorship with them. You will need plus you will need at least a general education in health science, 14 subject minimum, 90 hours of education in human lactation and breastfeeding, plus the 500 hours of clinical practice with breastfeeding moms, supervised by an IBCLC who will report back to your academic institution.
If you want to pursue an IBCLC accreditation further please visit http://www.americas.iblce.org/pathways-to-becoming-an-ibclc It is the official website, and goes much more in depth with the ways to become an IBCLC, the financial cost, the test, and everything else you will need to know. Becoming an IBCLC is a fantastic way to support women and babies in the breastfeeding community.