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Celebrating the ninth annual IBCLC Day on March 3, 2010

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help this baby succeed in breastfeeding.
An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help this baby succeed in breastfeeding.
Photo courtesy of N. Giannoukos

Whether or not there were any problems with latch on, milk supply, or sore nipples, most women who have breastfed their babies have had some interaction with a lactation specialist of some sort. Sometimes, a lactation educator provided a breastfeeding class prenatally. Other times, general worries and concerns have caused the mother to seek advice from a breastfeeding peer counselor or Certified Lactation Counselor. But when more serious trouble strikes, it is usually the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who has the skills and knowledge to help mom and baby reach their breastfeeding goals.

In Fresno, there are various lactation specialists working in the hospital setting, some of whom hold the title of Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), and some who are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). While a CLC can be very helpful at the bedside for general counseling, it is the IBCLC who is universally recognized as the leader of the lactation team. This is due to the fact that thousands of hours must be performed in order to be allowed to take the international board examination for this professional distinction. In other words, the main difference among the multiple levels of practice in lactation is the training and experience leading each to her role.

Fresno's new mothers can rest assured that, this being a fairly large city, there are several lactation specialists available to them should trouble arise. One International Board Certified Lactation Consultant makes house calls, helping mothers and babies overcome even the most challenging of issues in the comfort of their own homes. Other Lactation Consultants will be available in a clinic setting, such as at the Mother's Resource Center at Fresno Community Hospital. No matter what the issue, the practitioner with the highest level of experience will be the IBCLC, so March 3 is set aside each year as the day to celebrate the expertise of this specialized group of health care providers. Without them, many mothers and babies would struggle to succeed in breastfeeding.