Lactation consultants: 10 things you always wanted to know

1. What is considered to be the highest level of certification for lactation consultants? The most widely recognized, and highest level of certification for lactation consultants is the credential of International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

2. What educational background do you need to become an IBCLC?
IBCLCs need an educational background in anatomy and physiology, sociology, psychology or counseling, child development, nutrition, and medical terminology, as well as 45 hours in lactation education prior to sitting for the International Board of Lactation Examiner's Exam.

3. Are all IBCLCs nurses?
IBCLCs do not need to be nurses or in any other health related field, though a nursing background does meet the educational requirements, except the specific lactation education hours.

4. How many hours of counseling nursing moms is required to become an IBCLC?
Prior to sitting for the exam to become an IBCLC, the candidate must document 900 to 4000 hours of breastfeeding counseling, depending on the level of their other educational requirements.

5. How often do IBCLCs need to recertify?
IBCLCs need to renew certification every five years by participating in 75 additional hours of lactation education and must retake the certifying exam every ten years.

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