What is an IBCLC?


Ask for 5! I-B-C-L-C

IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  An IBCLC is a member of the maternal-child health care team that specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. An IBCLC may also use the designation Registered Lactation Consultant, or RLC.

IBCLCs have completed extensive, comprehensive education in breastfeeding and human lactation, college education in the health sciences, and supervised clinical experience hours providing care to breastfeeding families. IBCLCs have demonstrated they are qualified to work with breastfeeding mother and baby pairs as clinicians by passing the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners exam, a rigorous test that covers all aspects of lactation science and breastfeeding care. IBLCE is the only certification program in lactation accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA), a regulatory body that provides volunteer oversight for allied health professions. IBLCE has established Professional Standards for IBCLCs. IBCLCs must renew their certification every five years, either through continuing education (CERPs) or by re-examination

IBCLCs focus on preventative health care. A problem solving approach is used to provide evidence-based information and support to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Parents are empowered to make informed decisions about their care, and self-care is promoted and encouraged. IBCLCs can help mothers overcome common breastfeeding challenges such as latch issues, sore nipples, plugged ducts,  and low milk production. They can provide assistance with more complex issues, such as breastfeeding with illness or disability, low weight gain, breast and nipple infections, and tongue tie.  IBCLCs also provide support for concerns related to the normal course of breastfeeding such as nighttime parenting, returning to work or school, pumping breastmilk, and diet and nutrition as it relates to breastfeeding. Appropriate referrals may be made to other healthcare professionals and community resources in order to meet individual needs.

See a promotional video here:

Read about the extensive training of IBCLCs, as well as the many ways they can support moms here:  The Alphabet Soup of Breastfeeding Support

 Find an IBCLC:

  • ILCA: Find a Lactation Consultant Directory: IBCLCs who are also members of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) may choose to have their contact information listed on this page. This is a great place to start a search, but may not be a comprehensive listing of all IBCLCs in your area.

  • Department of Public Health or WIC Breastfeeding Resource Directory: Search your state Health Department or WIC website for this valuable listing of breastfeeding support resources in your community.

  • Web Search: Most IBCLCs in private or group practice have a website and/or a Facebook page that is searchable using a web search engine such as Google or Bing. Searching for IBCLCs in a specific city, geographic region, or zip code may help you narrow down the results. (For example, “IBCLC New York, NY” or “IBCLC Bay Area CA.”)

  • Word of mouth and referrals: Ask your physician, nurse, or nutritionist for a referral. Your insurance company may have a referral list of  IBCLCs that are covered under your plan. You may also find recommendations from from other women through parenting groups, breastfeeding support groups or meet-ups, and online groups.

More information:

Explore more information about IBCLCs

Position Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC

Updated: 7/15

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