Becoming a Lactation Consultant in Pennsylvania – PA
The optimum path to becoming a lactation consultant in Pennsylvania is to eventually achieve certification by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). IBCLC is the certification that more and more hospitals have come to require when hiring. At this time, the State of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs have no licensing requirements for lactation consultants.
To demonstrate competency in assisting breastfeeding mothers in most instances, a potential lactation consultant must pass the rigorous IBLCE exam. Some of the areas they will be potentially tested on include maternal and infant anatomy; maternal and infant immunology and infectious disease, including bacteria and viruses in milk, antibodies and other immune factors; developmental milestones and growth, both fetal and preterm; breastfeeding equipment and appropriate use, including human milk bank protocols; breastfeeding techniques; counseling mothers with special needs; maternal/infant relationship; parenting skills; sleep deprivation and nursing families; and maternal and infant pathology, including failure to thrive, mother/child physical and neurological disabilities, and hyperbilirubinemia and hypoglycemia.
As part of IBCLC certification process, a clinical practicum that includes hands-on experience for a specified number of hours assisting a nursing mother and her child is required. A certified IBCLC lactation consultant, for example, may be called upon to offer assistance for complex breastfeeding situations, such as when a mother has twins, a premature baby with a feeding problem, a baby with Down syndrome, or a baby with a cleft palate.