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What is the difference? IBCLC vs CLC

I am often challenged with the question of Lactation Counselor CLC vs. Lactation Consultant IBCLC. They are not the same and I am disappointed when hospitals or medical professionals don't understand the importance and knowledge required to practice as an IBCLC.

CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) is a 40 hr class that teaches about latch, positioning, and basic breastfeeding assistance. The knowledge is highly valuable, and I encourage everyone in the field to become certified.

IBCLC (International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant) requires medical course work so it's usually a medical professional. 90 hours breastfeeding specific education. 1000 practice hours in breastfeeding. Then you have to pass the boards, and it's not an easy exam.


So you may see when someone equates a CLC to an IBCLC as a "lactation consultant" it's a disservice to patients. It would be similar to comparing a nursing assistant to an RN. In fact, it's not an honest claim if a CLC calls themselves a consultant rather than a counselor. You can look up licensed IBCLC's to ensure your consultant is board certified.


The IBCLC does assist with latch and help the couplet have a successful breastfeeding journey. But they are also trained to identify at risk infants, the "abnormal" scenarios, assess, diagnose, treat or refer to another professional.

I enjoy the mystery, trying to identify and correct challenges in the complex nature of breastfeeding. We don't try to force Moms to breastfeed or shame those that choose not to. But our practice is based on ever changing research to ensure infant nutritional needs are met and that a parent can stay healthy and provide for their infant in the manner they wish. Its complex, challenging, and requires continuing education to ensure you are providing best practice.


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