ILCA welcomes questions related to the association, the lactation consultant profession, and guidelines for clinical practice. You may submit your questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The questions answered on this page do not address specific clinical topics. ILCA members who seek answers to clinical questions may post them on the Members Only side of the website. The association does not endorse individual techniques and procedures. Please refer to current textbooks and manufacturers' instructions. Some answers may be country-specific and you can locate your local affiliate on the ILCA Affiliates page.
Question: Does the cost of membership include back issues of JHL since January?
Answer: The Journal of Human Lactation (JHL) is published quarterly in February, May, August and November. You will receive any issues you missed during the calendar year as of the date of your renewal. The back issues of the JHL come directly from the publisher, so please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery. All past and current issues of the JHL can be viewed on the Members Only portion of the website.
Question: Does membership cost include membership from January to January no matter when you join? Does ILCA pro-rate dues?
Answer: ILCA’s membership year runs Jan 1 through Dec 31, regardless of when you join. Dues are not pro-rated because no matter when you join you receive all issues of the JHL for that membership year. You will also have access to all JHLs online, to all eGlobes published, and everything else that has occurred during the year through the website: JHL/Inside Track Portal.
Question: Do I keep my old ILCA membership number when I renew?
Answer: Yes. Your number and password will remain the same.
Question: How do I change my address, contact information or other demographic information in my member profile?
: Go to the Member Login
page and enter your Member ID# and your password. Click on "edit my profile" at the top of the page. You can then edit your profile by clicking on the different options on the to pof the page (Main, Address, Phone, Custom, Login). If you’re an IBCLC®
, remember to notify IBLCE®
of address changes so you will receive notices of recertification, and other certification information.
Question: How do I update my name in the member information?
: Name changes must be done by emailing the ILCA office at email@example.com
or by calling 919.861.5577 or toll free in U.S. and Canada at 888.452.2478 (ILCA-IS-U). Don’t forget to send IBLCE documentation of your name change by emailing IBLCE office in your region. See firstname.lastname@example.org
for all regions.
Question: How do I get listed on the FALC (Find A Lactation Consultant) Directory? How do I update my info there?
: The Find A Lactation Consultant Directory
is updated every two weeks and lists IBCLC members throughout the world. This is a free service to all ILCA members who hold the IBCLC credential. Before anyone is added to the listing, the ILCA office must first verify your credential with IBLCE, so adding your IBLCE certification number to your application is helpful. If you need to update your contact information, go to the Member Login
page and enter your Member ID# and your password. You can then edit your IBCLC informatoin under the Custom tab.
I want my mail to go to my home, but I want to show my work address on the FALC Directory
. How do I do this?
Answer: Log in to the ILCA website under the Members Only tab. Once you are logged in, click on Edit My Profile and then click the Address button. Click the Add New button and then select Address for FALC Directory from the drop down box under Address Type. Enter in your address and click the Add button. You will now have two addresses in the system; one for your mail and one for the FALC Directory.
: When accessing the Journal of Human Lactation
, I am caught up in a loop that continuously asks to log in as an ILCA member. What should I do?
: If you are caught up in a loop that continuously asks you to log in as an ILCA member, it is because your security settings on your computer are set too high. Please contact your IT support person and ask them to set your security to allow access to the Sage Publications page without the extra login. Please click here for instructions on how to bypass the security
. If you continue to have difficulties gaining access to the Journal, please contact email@example.com
Question: How can I find a Lactation Consultant in my area?
Question: What is your return policy?
Answer: We will accept returns of most items as long as they are returned within 45 days of purchase and in mint condition. Be sure to package any items being returned well to avoid corners being bent, etc. If received in mint condition, the purchase price will be refunded less the shipping/handling fee. Items that cannot be returned are:
DVDs that have been opened
Books that include online access codes or CD-ROMs
Seasonal items, such as World Breastfeeding Week items.
For concerns about these items, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: How long will it take to receive my order?
Answer: If your order is being shipped within the United States, it will usually arrive within 10-14 business days from when ILCA receives the order, often sooner. ILCA’s office is on the east coast of the United States, so orders shipped to the west coast may occasionally take closer to 14 business days. Allow 3-4 weeks for orders shipped outside the United States, though it is possible for them to take longer if they are delayed going through customs. Note: During certain times of the year when the ILCA office is closed for the Annual Conference or holidays, orders will be delayed, so please allow longer for delivery.
Question: If I place my order over the phone, can I get it faster?
Answer: The fastest way to receive an order is through the online Store on our website. Orders placed there do not have to go through our accounting department first, so we are able to ship them sooner than orders placed by phone, fax or mail.
Question: What shipping methods do you use?
: Within the United States, the options are USPS First Class Mail (for packages under 13 ounces), USPS Priority Mail and UPS Ground. Our website defaults to UPS Ground as it is generally less expensive for heavier book orders. The USPS options are the least expensive for small, lightweight orders.
Orders shipped to Canada are usually sent through the postal service. The website is only programmed to list UPS to Canada; however, we actually use the postal service in most instances. For large, heavy orders, we occasionally find UPS to be more economical.
Orders shipped outside the U.S. and Canada are always sent through the postal service. The website is programmed to display UPS Worldwide; however, the postal service is generally less expensive, and we use that to keep the shipping rates as low as possible.
Question: If I need my order quickly, can I pay extra for expedited shipping?
: Yes. Contact our office and we will do our best to work with you. Email email@example.com
or contact us at 888.452.2478 or 919.459.6098.
: Why is shipping so expensive for such small, lightweight items?
: For U.S. customers: If you are ordering small, lightweight items and believe the shipping cost is too high, please be sure that you have selected USPS First Class or USPS Priority Mail as the shipping method. The website will default to UPS Ground, because that is usually the most economical for heavier book orders; however, you will find the postal service options are much less expensive for lightweight packages.
Note: When shipping by UPS, there is a surcharge for delivery to residential addresses and rural addresses. If you have the option to securely receive packages at a business address, you may wish to do so for a lower shipping rate. Businesses that are run out of a residence are classified by UPS as residential addresses. When asked by a website if the shipping address is a business or residential address, be sure to answer this question accurately to avoid shipping delays while we contact you to collect the difference.
: One of the items I want to order is on backorder. Will you send it separately later?
Answer: Unless a separate order is placed, the order will be held until the backordered item is available and all items will be shipped together.
Question: I live outside the United States. Do I need to pay customs fees on my Store order?
Answer: Yes, depending on the destination and items ordered. We complete the customs forms as “merchandise” and any resulting customs fees are the responsibility of the recipient.
Question: Do you accept purchase orders?
Answer: Yes, we will gladly accept purchase orders for Store items, but not for conference registration, membership or continuing education modules. Send a printed copy of the purchase order by fax or mail and include contact information for the organization’s purchasing department and accounts payable department.
Question: I would like to become a lactation consultant. What do I need to do?
: Depending on your educational background, you will need a combination of college courses, and continuing education. In addition to general education requirements, you will need to complete specialized education in lactation consulting. This includes both classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience under the mentorship of an experienced lactation consultant. Generally, it is a good idea to complete your general education requirements before acquiring your lactation didactic and clinical instruction. Visit the IBLCE website
for more information on requirements for certification and to locate the IBLCE office in your region to learn about education available in your region. See the Student Resources
page on the ILCA website for help in selecting a course and additional resources.
Question: Do I need a college degree to become a lactation consultant?
Answer: At present, there is no requirement that a lactation consultant hold a college degree. Contact IBLCE for more information about their requirements. The college courses IBLCE requires can be completed without obtaining a degree. If you are a high school graduate considering a profession as a lactation consultant, it is recommended that you continue with postsecondary schooling and receive a minimum of an associate’s degree. To receive a credential in lactation consulting, you must complete a college course in areas identified by the certification board. There are many other college courses that will also help to prepare you for practicing as a lactation consultant. You may want to consider a degree in the healthcare arena. While it is not required that you obtain a license in the medical field (such as nursing, dietetics, physician, midwife) such a license will help to open doors to you for potential employment as a lactation consultant.
Question: Do I need to be licensed in another area of the health care profession to become a lactation consultant?
Answer: There is no requirement that a lactation consultant be licensed in another profession such as nurse, physician, midwife, or dietitian. Lactation consulting is a stand-alone profession with its own unique curriculum and scope of practice. The majority of lactation consultants, however, do have such licensure. It may open more employment opportunities since the primary job settings for lactation consultants are in hospitals and health clinics where such licensure will be attractive to employers.
Question: Must I take an approved or accredited lactation course?
: There is no requirement that the course you complete be recognized by an accrediting agency. The Approval and Accreditation received through the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC) is voluntary. Educators, however, recognize the value in having their programs formally reviewed. You can find a list of LEAARC Approved courses on the LEAARC website
. In addition to approving lactation courses, LEAARC is a review committee for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. LEAARC makes recommendations to CAAHEP for academic programs seeking accreditation. The Standards and Guidelines on the LEAARC website contain the general education and lactation content required for a comprehensive academic program in lactation consulting.
: Can I take a lactation management course simultaneously with the required clinical experience?
Answer: We recommend that you take a lactation management course before you begin clinical experience so you will have a good knowledge base before you begin to see mothers and babies.
Question: What kind of clinical experience do I need and how can I get it?
: The Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs
identifies the clinical situations in which a lactation consultant intern must demonstrate competence. Competence for many of the experiences will require more than one exposure. The number of clinical hours you will be required to have for certification will depend on your background. You can review information for your region on the IBLCE website
and contact them with questions and to locate local opportunities for clinical experience. Availability of experienced IBCLCs to mentor new IBCLCs varies depending on where you live. In some areas of the world, experienced lactation consultants are offering supervised clinical experience for interns. You can check your local hospitals, clinics and private practice lactation consultants to see if there are any near you. To locate a site for acquiring clinical practice, visit ILCA’s Clinical Instruction Directory
or locate IBCLCs in your area at ILCA’s Find A Lactation Consultant Directory
. They must have been an IBCLC for at least 5 years. In most cases, you will need to pay for these services. Again, this differs throughout the world.
Question: How can lactation consultant interns in the United States obtain professional liability insurance to cover the clinical work during their internship?
: USLCA, in partnership with the insurance carrier CM&F Group, makes affordable professional liability coverage available to USLCA members. The program is limited to an Internationl Board Certified Lactation Consultant®
(IBCLC) or those training specifically to become IBCLCs. To qualify, the intern must be enrolled in and under the supervision of an accredited or licensed training program. IBLCE’s Pathway 3 is recognized by USLCA and IBLCE as an approved program that culminates in certification through IBLCE as an IBCLC. Therefore, those enrolled in Pathway 3 would be covered as a Student Lactation Consultant Intern and qualify for this collaborative liability program offered through USLCA and CM&F. Contact USLCA
for information about the program.
Question: How much can an intern expect to pay a clinical instructor for mentoring her in acquiring clinical practice hours?
: This will vary depending on where you live. The Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs
identifies the clinical situations in which a lactation consultant intern must demonstrate competence. Competence for many of the experiences will require more than one exposure. The amount to be paid to the clinical instructor may depend upon how many hours it takes for the intern to demonstrate competency in all areas. In the U.S., the fee for a clinical instructor to mentor a lactation intern could range from $3500 to $6000 depending on how much mentoring the intern needs. Working with an intern generally increases an IBCLC's consultation time by 50 to 100%. If a consultation would normally be 20 minutes, with an intern it would probably be 30 to 40 minutes. The extra time includes time spent before and after the consultation, as well as lengthening the duration of the consultation itself if the instructor dialogues with the intern while working with the mother. The duration of a consultation will vary depending on the purpose and whether it is an outpatient visit with a private practice IBCLC or a postpartum visit in the hospital. If the internship takes place in the hospital, the instructor's time may be covered by hospital wages. The price for the intern might then be negotiated with the hospital. Some interns have contracted to work for the hospital for at least 500 hours after they become certified in exchange for the mentoring they receive.
Question: Does ILCA endorse or recommend instructional materials for in-services?
Answer: ILCA does not endorse or recommend products. There are many resources available throughout the ILCA website, including reviews of books (accessible to members only) and other publications. There are also user reviews of products at online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Question: Can I start helping mothers after I complete a lactation course?
Answer: Lactation courses are designed to give prospective IBCLC candidates an academic background in lactation. They are intended to be coupled with clinical experience so the candidate may meet the requirements of taking the IBLCE examination. Your next step is to establish a plan for certification with the IBLCE and arrange for a clinical instructor to supervise your acquisition of clinical practice hours.
: Where can I find resources for clinical instruction?
: Forms for clinical instruction can be found on the ILCA website under the Education tab at Student Resources
. ILCA members may also post questions on ILCA’s Discussion Board under the topic Clinical Mentoring to ask how others have approached their hospitals.
: What continuing education is available for staying current as an IBCLC?
: Attending conferences can help you prepare for the profession and to stay current with research and clinical practice. It is also a valuable opportunity to network with lactation consultants from around the world. Visit the ILCA Conference page on the ILCA website to learn about annual conferences. Visit the Worldwide Education Calendar
for other offerings in your area. Independent study modules are another way to obtain continuing education. Visit ILCA’s CERPs onDemand™ site
for a catalog of all available modules. Also visit the IBLCE website
to locate continuing education opportunities in your area.
: Can I send my study module in the mail instead of completing it online?
Answer: Although all study modules are available online, ILCA still accepts study module answer sheets from the Journal of Human Lactation at the office. Hand scoring requires up to 3-4 weeks for processing. Completing modules online will be much faster as you will get your certificate within minutes of submitting your answers. All other study modules are available only online.
Scope of Practice
: If I am not an IBCLC can I call myself a lactation consultant and see patients in the hospital or other health care settings?
: Employers are urged to hire IBCLCs for helping patients with breastfeeding. Being credentialed by IBLCE is essential for protecting the breastfeeding client and for maintaining the professional respect for the lactation consultant who has worked to earn that IBCLC credential. IBLCE requires on-going re-certification and maintains a mechanism for disciplining malpractice and ethics violations. Calling yourself a lactation consultant without having the IBCLC credential can be confusing and potentially misleading to clients. ILCA discourages the use of any title other than IBCLC. In some regions of the world and in some health care systems, the IBCLC credential is required. If you reside in an area that allows you to see patients, it is important to define your role with the patients. They need to understand that they are not being seen by a professional lactation consultant who is a credentialed IBCLC. See the Scope of Practice for IBCLCs
Question: Does an IBCLC need to be a licensed health professional to see patients?
: The Scope of Practice for IBCLCs
is medically oriented with core competencies and assessment skills as described in the Clinical Competencies for IBCLC Practice
, also available as a free download on the IBLCE website
. Other health professions that teach and utilize assessment skills include occupational therapists, dietitians, respiratory therapists, and speech pathologists. The lactation consultancy profession has followed the model of the registered nurse and other complementary professions, in developing detailed assessment and skills checklists. IBLCE does not require the candidate to hold another license to be eligible to become a lactation consultant. It is important that employers recognize that the IBCLC certification is the criterion for employing someone in such a position, and that it is not a subspecialty of another health professional license (such as RN). Nonetheless, IBCLC licensure is being sought in some states and countries, because reimbursement for the services provided is often tied to existence of a license (even though the IBCLC certification demonstrates competence to see clients/patients).
Question: I am supervising an IBCLC candidate in obtaining her practice hours. Our nurse manager is concerned that the intern is not an RN. Do IBCLCs need to apply for practice privileges?
: The experience and credentials required for working in a hospital will depend on where you live. In some countries, most hospitals and communities that employ an IBCLC require the IBCLC to be a midwife or RN. Each employer defines the role of students and preceptors within that facility. A student typically works with patients/clients under the supervision of a clinical instructor as part of the process of mastering the skills necessary for the profession. This is a graduated process that defines the levels of responsibility as the skills are acquired and mastered, similar to schools of nursing. Each facility will typically define the scope of privileges granted to certified health professionals. An IBCLC is employed by the facility and therefore does not need to apply for practice privileges. See the Scope of Practice for IBCLCs.
Ethical and Legal
Question: Where can I find information on seeking a better understanding of how the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (WHO Code) applies to IBCLCs, and to ILCA, their professional association?
Question: What is the ethical process for addressing the issue of: an IBCLC working in a hospital who advises all new moms to give formula to their babies as a "just in case" measure?
: You can first address this issue locally and support the IBCLC to improve her clinical practice. If all local strategies don’t work, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners®
(IBLCE) has a process for filing a complaint or concern regarding breaches of the IBLCE Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs
and concerns with violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. A complaint form for reporting alleged violations to IBLCE is available on the IBLCE website
. Complaints cannot be anonymous; IBLCE requires that the person bringing the complaint identify themselves. Additionally, complaints of violations of the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs
must be based on first-hand knowledge. Complaints based on hearsay will not be reviewed.
Question: What are the new HIPAA standards for patient confidentiality and where can we get information on these standards?
: The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is designed to protect families with pre-existing medical conditions, and help guarantee privacy and confidentiality of patient medical records. IBCLCs who practice in accordance with the Standards of Practice for IBCLCs, Code and Ethics for IBCLCs, and Scope of Practice for IBCLCs will already be conforming to the privacy protections envisioned by HIPAA. However, HIPAA does require some simple paperwork for USA-only-based IBCLCs. ILCA's Reimbursement Tool Kit for Lactation Consultants lists all the state HIPAA contacts. It can be obtained in the ILCA Store
Question: Where can I find laws regarding breastfeeding in individual states or countries?
: Several states in the U.S. have adopted laws pertaining to breastfeeding. Some of these laws address the right to breastfeed in public and others address accommodation laws for working breastfeeding mothers. La Leche League International has frequently-updated pages discussing Breastfeeding and the Law both worldwide, and state-by-state in the USA. Contact USLCA
for more on this and other U.S. issues.
Question: A mother asked me to testify at a custody hearing. What resources are available?
: There is a chapter devoted to legal issues in ILCA’s Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice
, (available in the ILCA’s Store). The Professional Liaison Department of LLLI
handles general legal concerns for mothers and families about breastfeeding (including rights of the breastfeeding dyad, and facts about the effects of human milk on infant and child health). The IBCLC’s role in a court hearing will differ, depending on whether the IBCLC consulted the mother, or is being called as an outside expert on lactation issues. Seek specific guidance from the attorney representing the mother.
Question: I plan to provide a lactation education class in my community. Do I need to purchase malpractice insurance?
: You can check with an Insurance authority in your country to learn what insurance may be required. You typically would not need professional liability insurance to teach a class. But if it involves working with mothers and babies at all, you would need coverage. Most hospitals will require any health care provider having clinical contact with patients to carry some form of professional liability (malpractice) insurance. And, most insurers will only cover those who carry a credential (like IBCLC) or a license (like MD or RN). For ILCA members who live in the USA, their automatic membership in the United States Lactation Consultant Association provides the benefit of Professional Liability Insurance for the IBCLC
at a substantial group savings.
Question: I am an ILCA member and have additional questions on ethical issues concerning IBCLCs.
: Log into Members Only
, choose Member Resources
and then choose Ethics & Code Committee Resources
to find helpful resources on Questions and Answers, Discussions, Tutorials, and Presentations. If you are unable to log into Members Only
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