What is an IBCLC?

What is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)?


An IBCLC is the only internationally certified medical professional in the clinical management of breastfeeding and  lactation Science. They are a valuable part of the maternal-child health care team, and work in collaboration with other health care providers to help families meet their breastfeeding goals.


IBCLCs adhere to standards of practice and code of ethics, and work within a defined scope of practice.  Anyone can call themselves Breastfeeding Counsellors, Lactation Counsellors, even Lactation Consultants, however only those practitioners who have met the requirements of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) are permitted to use the credential IBCLC.



The IBCLC certification is the equivalent to a Masters Degree in Lactation Medicine.  Required prerequisites for the certification exam that bestows the IBCLC credential are clinical practice experience in management of lactation and breastfeeding, as well as education in human lactation, breastfeeding, clinical internship and general health sciences, working towards the IBCLC credential takes many years of studying and clinical supervised hours if you don't have a medical or nursing degree.


Maintenance of IBCLC certification requires continued education in human lactation, breastfeeding, and professional ethics.After a specified period of practice, currently ten years, the certification board mandates recertification by re-examination.  Licensure may coexist with the IBCLC certification in some geopolitical jurisdictions.


In the public interest, IBLCE maintains registries of currently certified International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Each regional office maintains a registry for the IBCLCs that reside in the countries served by that office. 



Standards of Practice for IBCLCs

Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs


Source: ILCA Position Paper on The Role and Impact of the IBCLC.