The differences in credentials between various types of lactation counselors are not well known by consumers, so look for the letters IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) after the name of anyone you hire to help you and your baby breastfeed. IBCLC is an established, international certification granted by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). There are several other breastfeeding supporters with similar names. It’s confusing! Here are some basic differences:
To qualify for IBCLC certification, 1000 clinical hours plus a five hour exam, completion of various full length college level courses and extensive recertification classes are required. IBCLC is the highest level of lactation credentialing. Other programs train candidates to teach breastfeeding but not to assess individual difficulties; these kinds of programs usually only require a weekend of classes, none or almost no clinical hours, and no exam. To my knowledge, only those with the IBCLC credential are recognized as reimbursable practitioners by private insurance companies.