Becoming a Lactation Consultant

“I was just wondering if there are any lactation consultant courses you specifically recommend? There seem to be so many out there, I don’t want to end up paying for something that doesn’t offer the knowledge I need”

International Board Certified Lactation Examiners (IBLCE) does not require, recommend or endorse any particular course. Some candidates undertake courses that have been awarded Continuing Education Recognition Points. In addition, you may use lactation specific education that is provided by health professional education approval boards and/or lactation specific education offered by your employer or volunteer organisation. Some courses certainly will give you information to help with breastfeeding and prepare you for sitting the international exam but it is your responsibility to contact each organisation and decide which course is appropriate for you.  View our ‘Courses’ page here.

“I am very interested in helping new mothers and babies with breastfeeding and would be very keen to find out what the study requirements are to become a lactation consultant?”

The pathways to becoming a Lactation Consultant does depend on your background as to what criteria you need to meet.  Please remember that an IBCLC is a professional member of the healthcare team. As such, a candidate for the International Board Certified Lactation Examiners (IBLCE) certification examination must have higher education in the health sciences, clinical practice in lactation and breastfeeding care and education in human lactation and breastfeeding.  For more information, please visit https://iblce.org/step-1-prepare-for-ibclc-certification/

To become eligible to sit the IBLCE exam, candidates need to complete one of the following pathways:

Pathway 1 – Recognised Health Professionals & Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellors

Candidates following Pathway 1 demonstrate completion of the following requirements:

  • Be an IBLCE Recognised Healthcare Professional OR complete coursework in each of the 14 health science subjects.
  • 90 hours of lactation specific education completed within 5 years immediately prior to applying for the IBCLC exam.
  • 1000 hours of lactation specific clinical practice within 5 years immediately prior to applying for the IBCLC exam. Lactation specific clinical practice is to be obtained within your scope of practice in an appropriate supervised setting. The following are tips on how hours meet the requirements:
    • Clinical practice is to be obtained in an appropriate supervised setting, to include the following:
      • Hospital
      • Birth Centre
      • Community Clinic
      • Lactation Care Clinic/Practice
      • Primary Care Practitioner’s Practice/Office
      • If you are a licensed health care professional and are able to work independently within your scope of practice, then lactation and breastfeeding care outside of these settings meets the requirements.
    • If you are paid or a volunteer for a specific organisation that is listed on IBLCE’s Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation list, then you may earn clinical hours in the following way:
      • If you primarily provide in person group or individual breastfeeding support, then you can earn a flat rate of 500 hours per full year of service or count hours on an hour-for-hour basis if it is over this amount or your term of service is less than one year when applying to the IBCLC exam.
      • If you primarily provide telephone, email, or web based breastfeeding support, then you can earn a flat rate of 250 hours per full year of service or count hours on an hour-for-hour basis if it is over this amount or your term of service is less than one year when applying to the IBCLC exam.
      • View the FAQs section for further details in calculating these hours.

Pathway 2 – Accredited Academic Programs

This pathway is currently not available in Australia or New Zealand.

Pathway 3 – Mentorship

  • Candidates following Pathway 3 must demonstrate the completion of the following requirements:
  • Be an IBLCE Recognised Healthcare Professional OR complete coursework in each of the 14 health science subjects.
  • 90 hours of lactation specific education within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the exam.
  • 500 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical practice with an IBCLC within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the exam.

Directly supervised lactation specific clinical practice is to be completed within the guidelines established AND been verified by IBLCE (includes application fee) prior to beginning this practice. Specifics of establishing a Pathway 3 Plan can be found in the Pathway 3 Plan Guide.

For more information on pathways, review the IBLCE website at iblce.org or contact your Country Coordinator:

Australia – aus@iblce.edu.au

New Zealand – nz@iblce.edu.au

Regional Office – admin@iblce.edu.au