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What is an IBCLC, and When Would I Need to Call One?

What is an IBCLC, and When Would I Need to Call One?

I recently added a bunch of new letters after my name. I didn’t get married--I became an IBCLC. Although I’ve been working as a lactation counselor and supporting mothers for more than five years and taking every opportunity to continue to learn more, I’ve also been taking courses to earn this accreditation.

What is an IBCLC?

According to the International Lactation Consultant Association, an IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. These healthcare professionals work with mothers, children, other healthcare professionals and the community to provide expert care when it comes to lactation and breastfeeding. They also help support breastfeeding and reduce the risks associated with not breastfeeding.

In other words, an IBCLC is a professional who is dedicated to helping parents, caregivers and their children initiate and maintain the breastfeeding relationship that’s right for them. They work in many settings, including pediatrician offices, hospitals and private practice.

In a world where everyone from your mother-in-law to the nosy grocery store clerk wants to give you breastfeeding advice, you need to know who to trust. An IBCLC has the medical and clinical experience to help you with any breastfeeding challenges or just to confirm that your baby’s latch is great and cheer you on.

When Should You Call an IBCLC?

Breastfeeding is kind of like what I imagine hang-gliding to be like. You can learn all about it from books and talking to other people who have been through it. But do you really want to go on your first solo trip alone? At the very least, it would help to have someone walk you through it. It would be even better if you could have someone with you the whole time.

While it’s not realistic for an IBCLC to be with you 24/7, they are a quick text or phone call away to answer your questions or visit any time you have concerns about breastfeeding. Don’t ever worry that your problem isn’t severe or dramatic enough to warrant a visit to your IBCLC. Ultimately, the peace of mind that you get from knowing that you’ve gotten the help that you need can ease your stress and let you know that you’re doing this right.

When should you call an IBCLC? When your baby:

  • Is jaundiced

  • Refuses to latch

  • Is sleepy at the breast

  • Isn’t gaining weight or is losing weight

  • Seems to be feeding all the time

  • Is premature

Breastfeeding isn’t all about your infant, though. Mothers often need support, and that’s what IBCLCs are here for. Even if your baby is thriving, call an IBCLC if you are experiencing:

  • Sore nipples

  • Flat or inverted nipples

  • Engorgement

  • Concerns about your milk supply

  • A suspected oversupply

  • Any questions or worries about breastfeeding

How Do You Find an IBCLC?

If you live in Wilmington, NC or the surrounding areas, feel free to call me or schedule an appointment at I offer in-home or in-office visits 7 days a week, and Lactation Counseling Services is one of the longest-running lactation practices in Wilmington, NC.

If you live somewhere else, use this directory to find a lactation consultant in your area. We’re lucky enough to live in a country where lactation support is readily available in most locations. Please don’t hesitate to call an IBCLC any time you have questions about breastfeeding. That’s what we’re here for, and we’re more than happy to support you.

Breastfeed with Confidence~ Lactation Counseling Services

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