A lot of people ask me if I have been going to school for this, or how you become a Lactation Consultant. There are a few different pathways, but the most common one, and the one I have done is this:
1) Have a degree or license in one of the IBCLC "Recognized Health Professions" including nurse, dietitian, physician, physical therapist, etc. (Mine is dietitian)
2) Gain 90 continuing education credits in lactation within the past 5 years. (I did these through conferences, trainings, personal study, and webinars)
3) Accumulate 1000 hours working directly with breastfeeding moms over the past 5 years. (I did this by volunteering at breastfeeding walk-in clinics, my experience working at WIC, and my client visits).
In the mean time, I will continue to offer postpartum doula visits as well as breastfeeding-specific visits. I am still a Certified Lactation Counselor (a smaller certification), and many breastfeeding challenges (milk supply, pumping, latch, etc) fall within my scope of practice.
Some people have also been asking me what I'd like to do after taking the exam. After I become an IBCLC, I am planning to continue the same work that I am doing now! I love the home visits I provide for moms, and I especially love the ability to follow families starting during pregnancy and help them get off to a great start with breastfeeding. With early support I can help catch problems before they become big and difficult, and help moms feel more confident with breastfeeding right from the start. It’s so rewarding! I will still do postpartum work as well, but I'll start to have a larger focus on my breastfeeding visits.
Thanks for everyone who has helped provide mentorship for me over the past few years! I’m sure I will come to you with questions, because I am always learning. Wish me luck studying for the exam!