IBCLC is not a term that everyone is familiar with. So if you happened to see “Happy IBCLC Day!” somewhere on social media recently and thought to yourself: what the heck is that and why is it happy? I am here to explain.
IBCLC is an acronym that stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It’s a credential that is awarded after years of clinical training, lactation education, and successful completion of a board exam. The cool thing about IBCLCs is that we are internationally recognized so that if someone is an IBCLC, it means regardless of the country we are in, we have all completed a required level of training, possess similar competencies, and have passed our board exam. There are IBCLC’s in 102 countries around the world!
IBCLCs come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are nurses, many are not (myself included). I can’t speak for others, but for me, I became interested in becoming an IBCLC after having my own children. I struggled with breastfeeding with my first baby, and then again about 9 months in to nursing with my 2nd. Having overcome difficulties with both children, it motivated me to want to help other moms and families succeed in meeting their breastfeeding goals.
For many of us, being an IBCLC is a second or possibly third career. I know IBCLCs who, in another life, were teachers, attorneys, stay-at-home-moms, chemists, psychologists. Others have reported being a massage therapist, carpenter, physician, marine biologist, administrative/executive assistant, mechanical engineer, and even a Russian linguist for the U.S. military! Such diverse backgrounds mean that each IBCLC will have his or her own unique style of supporting families. And yes, there are males that are lactation consultants – a question that comes up frequently.
So, what is IBCLC day? IBCLC Day was developed by ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) to recognize the important role of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and the specialized knowledge each has to make a difference in the lives of breastfeeding families. If an IBCLC helped you with breastfeeding, please let that person know! Nothing warms our hearts more than hearing from someone we have helped! (except maybe chocolate) ;)
Just Carrie wanting a space to write about being a mom to 2, boob nerd, military wife, and food enthusiast. But mainly a place to talk about boobs and babies!