Lactation consultants work independently to triage and manage clinical lactation concerns for mother, baby and the family unit. Lactation consultants do not have to be registered nurses to function in their role, although some hospitals may require a lactation consultant to be a registered nurse. Designed to prepare students to take the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) certification exam,
- Identify the anatomy of the breast and hormones necessary for milk production.
- Identify nutritional needs of the baby and breastfeeding mother.
- Discuss ways to promote effective breastfeeding using evidenced-based principles.
- Perform a comprehensive breast assessment.
- Identify the impact of culture on breastfeeding.
- Apply ethical and legal principles in the care of the breastfeeding mother.
- Identify potential breastfeeding complications and interventions.
Lactation consultants may be employed in hospitals and manage hospital breastfeeding centers and boutiques. In this role, they may facilitate other lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, triage phone calls and warm lines, and manage breastfeeding stores that rent breast pumps and sell breastfeeding clothing and products. The Lactation Consultant may also be employed in community settings which includes government agencies, home-visiting agencies, non-profits, obstetric and pediatric provider offices, and other direct service providers.
Applicants considering a career as a lactation consultant should be aware that during their course of study and in subsequent employment in the field, they are likely to work in situations where exposure to infectious disease is possible. This is an occupational risk for all health care workers. Persons should not become health care workers unless they recognize and accept this risk. Proper education and strict adherence to well established infection-control guidelines, can reduce the risk to a minimum. Thorough education in infection control procedures is an important part of the lactation consultant program of study.
Early recognition of sensitization to natural rubber latex (NRL) is crucial to prevent the occurrence of life-threatening reactions in sensitized healthcare workers. The program faculty strongly advises that students sensitized or allergic to latex consult a physician for guidance on the merits of continuing in a health care career. NRL sensitized students who choose to continue in the lactation consultant program must notify the program director.
Upon completion of the lactation consultant certificate program, students are eligible to take the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) certification exam.
The program is between 40.5 credit hours and 44.5 credit hours depending on whether the student completes Pathway 2 or Pathway 3.
It is strongly recommended that AH-100 and BIO-134 are completed before AH-121. Additionally, acceptance to the lactation consultant program is contingent upon fulfilling and maintaining minimum program requirements and proof of the following:
- Health Insurance
- Physical examination
- TB testing/screening
- Immunizations as required
- Titers to assure immunity for specific conditions
- American Heart Association (AHA) BLS for Healthcare Professionals certification
- Must pass drug screening on first test
- Criminal background check