Pump it up!

Pump dependent mothers of preterm infants who listen to music while pumping produce significantly more milk with a higher fat content. Music based interventions provided to mothers pumping on a frequent and long term basis may serve as another tool to increase milk production-- more milk through melodies.

Click here to visit our Clinical Pearl Archive.


Dear Breastfeeding Mothers-

It can be challenging to know where to go for good breastfeeding information when so many sites are competing for your attention.  We want to help you cut through the crowded web and find websites that can really help.
We are the professional association for US-based International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).  IBCLCs are health care professionals who specialize in breastfeeding (IBCLCs Make the Difference).  To become certified, IBCLCs complete many hours of education, hundreds or thousands of hours working with mothers and babies, and a rigorous exam.  Our goal is to help you meet your goals.  To find an IBCLC in your area, click here.

Helpful Websites:

For videos demonstrating latch, hand expression, maximizing milk supply with a pump and more:

For evidence-based breastfeeding and parenting information for mothers:

A government-sponsored link with breastfeeding information, advice, and encouragement:

"Your Guide to Breastfeeding" booklet in several languages:

Classic source of information and support for breastfeeding mothers.

Information about Baby-Friendly Hospitals:

Breastfeeding advocacy-Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding advocacy, excellent articles, inspiration, and community-building:

Breastfeeding information in multiple languages:

WIC Breastfeeding Support:

Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs Fact Sheet:Health Reform: What is in it to Promote Breastfeeding? Includes information about the new requirement for inclusion of lactation support in new healthinsurance plans through the Women’s Preventive Service Regulation:

Welcome to USLCA’s Practice-Building Toolbox for IBCLCs

This page is designed to help YOU, the member IBCLC, build the value of your practice, in any work setting.  We would like it to be a helpful resource in which readers share ideas, learn from each other, and work together to spread the word that IBCLCs provide the best in professional lactation care.  Please send your ideas and stories. We are a creative bunch…let’s pool that creative energy to promote our practice so that more mothers and babies will have access to our care.

Marketing the IBCLC Credential alpha
There is a veritable alphabet soup of titles, labels, letters, and credentials describing various types of lactation support available to new mothers.  The public, including mothers and babies, health care facilities and policy makers are understandably confused.  All of the roles are valuable and it is essential to help families identify and access the right level of care at the right time.  IBCLCs must clarify their role, helping others to distinguish between our credential and other certifications and titles.   USLCA and ILCA both have tools to support you as you do this important work.

On USLCA’s Website:

IBCLCs Make the Difference
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a member of the maternal-child healthcare team with specialized skills in breastfeeding care and management. The IBCLC credential is the highest certification and the only internationally recognized credential in the field of lactation. Research has shown improved breastfeeding outcomes when mothers and infants receive the services of IBCLCs. While many training courses provide certificates of completion, only the IBCLC credential denotes certification in lactation consultation.Read More

Licensure FAQ's for the IBCLCs
The US Lactation Consultant Association has received a number of inquiries regarding the necessity and value of securing licensure for the IBCLC. Since there is no process for national licensure, the licensing of health professionals is done by each state. The goal of licensure is to provide for public safety. USLCA’s Licensure and Reimbursement Committee is diligently working to secure licensure for the IBCLC in a number of states. Read More

Containing Health Care Costs Help In Plain Sight (2nd Edition)
Skyrocketing healthcare costs have resulted in a greater emphasis on disease prevention by healthcare professionals, government agencies, and health insurers. By providing immune protection and proper nutrition, breastfeeding remains a cost-effective intervention for disease prevention with an accompanying reduction in health care spending. Informed women are initiating breastfeeding at an increasing rate, from 26% in 1970 to 75% in 2007. However, many women struggle to maintain breastfeeding for as long as it is medically recommended and fail to achieve the intensity and duration of breastfeeding that they planned. This is often due to poor access to effective breastfeeding support within the medical system, false and misleading infant formula marketing, and societal barriers including: lack of paid maternity leave, unsupportive places of employment, and cultural discomfort with breastfeeding. Consequently, health care dollars are spent on treating diseases and conditions that could have been effectively prevented by breastfeeding. In order to appropriately address this preventative health care gap and the excessive costs that result, consumers, health care providers, insurers and employers need to be able to identify and access qualified lactation consultants to provide services and protect quality of care. Read More

IBCLC Staffing Statement
In Breastfeeding: A Guide For The Medical Profession, Lawrence and Lawrence describe a lactation consultant as a health care professional whose scope of practice is focused upon providing education and management to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems and to encourage a social environment that effectively supports the breastfeeding mother/infant dyad. This allied healthcare provider is also depicted as possessing the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to facilitate breastfeeding.1 The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) has published Standards of Practice for Lactation Consultants. The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the only standardized, board-certified lactation credential available. Read More

Five Steps to Improving Job Security
Many IBCLCs have found themselves in the unfortunate position of experiencing a reduction in their hours, or under the threat of job elimination, due to hospital budget constraints. The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) recognizes this as a distressing situation that may have a significant impact and unintended consequences to couplets cared for in such institutions. This paper is designed to suggest potential strategies and practical steps for the IBCLC to utilize when their lactation consultant position or program is in jeopardy. Read More

NOTE: To view the files you must have the latest versions on Adobe Reader. Please click here to update Adobe Reader to your computer.

On ILCA’s website:

NEW! Position Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC (English l Spanish l Croatian lJapanese)

Experience You Can Trust!
Distribute these downloadable flyers to promote the IBCLC to health care professionals, breastfeeding families, and others. They describe an IBCLC's scope of practice, settings where IBCLCs are found, the importance of IBCLCs to breastfeeding families, and how to find an IBCLC.

On IBLCE’s Website
Why Hire an IBCLC?

Letter to the editor of Midwifery Today in response to Angelique Chelton’s article blurring the lines between lactation disciplines.

Dear Editor:
On many points, we are in agreement with Angelique Chelton’s recent articleabout building communities of lactation support.  It is a sad fact that while breastfeeding initiation is on the rise, both exclusive breastfeeding and duration of breastfeeding fall far short of national and international goals.  It is also true that the reasons for such poor statistics are complex, and that providing education, anticipatory guidance, technical assistance, and a warm culture of support will go far toward enabling women to meet their own personal breastfeeding goals.  We whole-heartedly agree that improving breastfeeding rates will promote and protect the emotional and physical health of mothers and babies.

We applaud Chelton’s rallying cry for all flavors of health care providers and supportive volunteers to work together to create a nurturing network for new mothers.  We each have an invaluable role to play. Working together, we can ensure that what each brings to the table makes the network of support seamless and cohesive.  Where we must clarify, however, is in the assertion that “there is no hierarchy in professional lactation support.”  If by “hierarchy” Chelton means that no one professional group is of greater value than another, we can agree; but if the meaning is that there are no differences in the professionals, there we must disagree.  International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) are the only internationally certified lactation professionals.  In order to become eligible to take the rigorous certifying examination, candidates must first be licensed health care professionals or take college level courses in subject areas such as counseling, child growth and development, and anatomy, and must also have documented hundreds of clinical hours working with mothers and babies.  IBCLCs must work within a clearly defined scope of practice and there are professional practice standards to which they are accountable.  In addition, they must re-certify every five years.  This process of certification and re-certification is one of the most rigorous among health care professionals.

There is great value in the diversity of the various forms of breastfeeding support.  Distinguishing between roles does not render any one role more valuable than another but rather allows mothers to access the right kind of care at the right time.  One of the most important roles of all breastfeeding guides  is to make sure that  mothers receive the right level of care in each situation they face.  We can and must all work together, building on our strengths and sharing our collective wisdom and knowledge, to create the culture of support that mothers and babies deserve. Our future depends on it.

                        *                                             *                                             *

Making the Most of USLCA Press Releases  News
Each month, a press release designed to focus on a breastfeeding-related topic and how IBCLCs make the difference goes out to major media outlets as well as to you, the members of USLCA. Whether you work in private practice, in a hospital, or in another setting, you can use the press releases to build your own practice by submitting them to your local news outlets and hospital news editors, as well as sending them to referring physicians and health department representatives when as the topic fits. You can also tailor the text as needed for your own website or publications. All of these are inexpensive ways to spread the word about IBCLCs and your practice, as well as to build value in your community.

Putting Mothers to Work…for YOU!
Word of mouth advertising is the best source of referrals for the IBCLC.  Breastfeeding is deeply personal---Mothers seeking breastfeeding help are far more likely to take the advice of a friend than they are to respond to an ad or list. So how do you make the most of “mother power” to build your practice?  First, be the best IBCLC you can be.  Read journals, such as USLCA’s Clinical Lactation. Network with other IBCLCs through your local chapter and online groups.  Attend conferences whenever possible and keep learning new techniques to support your clients.  Hone your communication skills, listening well, checking for understanding, making sure that you are supporting the family’s goal and not your own.  Ask for feedback several weeks after your consultation.  And ask for referrals! 
Make it easy for mothers to refer to you.  Leave several business cards or a magnet with your contact information and ask her to tell both her health care provider and her baby’s about her experience working with you …When you send your feedback letter after your consultation, give her several ways to share her positive experience such as sending a comment that you may post on your website and “liking” your practice facebook page*. 
When you do receive referrals from one of your past clients, be sure to send a thank you.  Protect your clients’ privacy by sharing no information about the consultation, but do say thanks for the referral and be sure to include a few more cards!
*You will want to separate your practice Facebook page from your personal page.

Social Media: An essential tool for the IBCLC
Kathleen Lopez’ article in Clinical Lactation March 2012 Marketing via the Web and Social Media

Building Value for Hospital-Based IBCLCs
In this uncertain economic climate, hospital administrators are looking for ways to cut cost without cutting quality.  They are working hard to identify “non-essential” personnel.  You know that what you do is important, but do those at the top know that?  Most US hospitals gauge patient satisfaction by Press Ganey and HCAHPS reports.  Unless your hospital customizes the questions, neither survey contains any questions about lactation services.  Without representation in these patient surveys, IBCLC services can be invisible to administrators. Your job is to demonstrate the value you bring and USLCA can help.
Here are some strategies to increase visibility of IBCLC services in your hospital:

  • Leave your business hospital card with patients so they know who helped them with breastfeeding and can mention you both by name and title
  • When patients ask how they can express their appreciation, be ready with the name and contact information of your superior.  Make it easy for busy new parents to express their gratitude.
  • Participate in hospital-wide committees and activities.  Be sure that Lactation is a visible service area, working alongside nurses, dietitians, and therapists.
  • Be sure the hospital benefits from your credential.  Apply for the IBCLC Care Award and work with public affairs to publicize the accomplishment.
  • Supporting breastfeeding is evidence-based and a quality of care issue.  Ally yourself with the quality and safety team, as well as the evidence-based practice councils and committees. The Joint Commission’s Core Measures and  mPINC scores are valuable tools.  Position yourself as an indispensible team member as you work with other disciplines to bring practice into alignment with the evidence.
  • Send press releases and news blurbs spotlighting IBCLCs and IBCLC services to your hospital newsletter on a regular basis. Write it on your calendar so you remember.
  • Make Public Affairs your new best friend!  Breastfeeding issues are frequently in the news.  Contact your marketing or public affairs people when news hits so that they can contact local news outlets.  Be ready for television or quotes for publication.
  • Be sure to cultivate relationships with the nursing staff.   Make working well together a high priority.  Reward those making special efforts with notes of appreciation and cc their manager.
  • Be the “expert” providing lactation education and clinical experiences for nurses.
  • Always consider “what’s in it for them” in talking with others.  How does your position help nursing?  The hospital?  The patient experience?  The bottom line?  Learn to speak the language of the discipline you are talking with.
  • When budget season approaches, share the USLCA Staffing Statement with key decision-makers.  Use the fact that AWHONN adopted the standards to your advantage.

Featured Webinar

"Reading Research Without Fear"
by: Karen A. Wambach  and Patricia J. Martens

Answer the Call

Jane Leach PhD, RNC,  I am studying to re take the LC exam after 10 years so I can stay current. Even though I do not practice clinically at this time I want to maintain my certification so I am remain an informed Nurse Educator. This is a strain on my time and budget but I am willing to sacrificebecause this is so important to support breastfeeding both locally and globally. 

Pamela Berglund, I teach childbirth classes which includes breastfeeding. I use as many comments as possible in the class for them to see they are not the only people with breastfeeding concerns. Many class members have a corrupt experience with their previous attempts at breastfeeding. Now that they identify the importance of breastfeeding every 2 to 3 hours they appreciate the bonding with their baby. They are given pros and cons about epidurals could cause new born baby’s not to latch on right away. Instead of being given a bottle they are encouraged to keep trying with the breastfeeding. My co-worker calls all the women who have been in our breastfeeding class two months after delivery. 85% of the mothers are still breast feeding. We are going to start calling again at three months and see how this changes. It has been a lesson for me of how many women do not know the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby. The biggest challenge in education is changing the family culture for the unmatched alternative.

Sandra Davis-Hathaway, IBCLC, I am a newly certified Lactation Consultant in the City of Long Beach California, My practice Breastfeeding Specialist began November 1, 2011. I am soo happy to be working in the Lactaion field. Our services are so needed. I am very much concerned for the health and saftey of our children and breastfeeding is my way of giving back. Right now I am mostly focusing on home visits. It is so rewarding to see a mother connect incinctivley with her baby. Sometimes I work with a baby who I am really concerned for but most of the time momthers just need a little support and encouragement. Sometimes it's the dad who call, looking for ways to support mom and baby. What ever the needs are being able to have someone come into your home on the day you really need help it is invaluble.

On March 7th I took a team of 4 People out into our community creating awarness and introducing our services through the IBCLC Day Proclimation, Crossword Puzzle and Honey and Oats Granola Bars. We were well recieved everywhere we went. Thank you for all you do to help make this possible!

In Unity
See our Video IBCLC Day 2012 on Youtube.com www.breastfeedingspecialist.org

To advance the IBCLC with in the United States through leadership, advocacy, professional development and research.

The IBCLC is the recognized professional authority in lactation care in the United States.


Message from the President

I hope your holiday time was exactly what you wanted it to be. As for me, I enjoyed getting away, learning some new things, and meeting new people. It is always interesting to hear how women around the world approach childbirth and breastfeeding practices. I know I must be a teacher because as soon as I learn one new piece of information, I feel compelled to tell everyone, Read More...



Message from the President
This is a great time for IBCLCs. With the Affordable Care Act including lactation care as a covered health benefit, the services of IBCLCs may be accessible to more mothers than ever before. USLCA is advocating for IBCLCs and bringing information to you as it becomes available.
At the Board of Directors meeting held just prior to the ILCA conference, we updated our mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. You will note the strong emphasis on the IBCLC. Take a look at the new Mission, Vision, and Values Statement:

To advance the IBCLC within the United States through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.

The IBCLC is the recognized professional authority in lactation in the United States.

1. Uphold high standards of professional practice
2. Respect and promote cultural diversity
3. Collaborate with integrity in relationships
4. Operate nationally while being mindful of regional, local and Individual needs
5. Demonstrate responsibility to our community by promoting the best lactation care for the foundation of good health


USLCA President
Aspiring LC’s
New Mom's
Featured Webinar
Practice Tip of the Month

October 25, 2012

"The Branding & Marketing Imperative for Lactation Consultants"

Speakers: Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg of Best for Babes



MISSION: To advance the IBCLC with in the United States through leadership, advocacy, professional development and research.

VISION:  The IBCLC is the recognized professional authority in lactation care in the United States.

USLCA on Social Media

What's New

Licensure and Reimbursement

October 2012 Press Release

September 2012 eNews

Practice-Building Toolbox for IBCLCs

Advocacy Opportunity


Webinar CD Now Available for:

Reimbursment 101
Getting started with Aetna

Click here to order

Coming Soon:

January 8 2013 throught February 12, 2013

"Foundations of Biological Nurturing"

by: Suzanne Colson, Ph.D., RM, RGN, BA, MSc