What’s an IBCLC?

Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) are health professionals that have many years of breastfeeding support experience, with a background in either midwifery, breastfeeding counselling, medicine or health visiting.

IBCLCs have successfully completed a 6 hour written examination at degree level and a substantial amount of breastfeeding counselling work during their training.

The exam includes all aspects of breastfeeding:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Immunology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Drugs in breast milk
  • Allergies and breastfeeding
  • Research
  • Ethics

IBCLCs are experts in breastfeeding and skilled in supporting parents with common and complex breastfeeding problems. They are registered and regulated by The International Board of Lactation Consultants Examiners.

Unfortunately, there are many people who call themselves “Breastfeeding Certified Specialists/Breastfeeding Consultants/Babyfeeding  Specialists” without holding any valid credentials. Breastfeeding counsellors have substantial breastfeeding training and must belong to an accredited organisation. However, Lactation Consultants have the most extensive, evidence-based, and up-to-date knowledge. Always look for the IBCLC mark of excellence!

For more information, please see Who’s Who in Breastfeeding Support and Lactation in the UK

Watch this video that explains the role of IBCLCs here