How to become a lactation consultant

How to become a lactation consultant

Becoming a lactation consultant is a great decision for anyone.

interested in helping breastfeeding moms and committing time to enhance mom and baby’s breastfeeding relationship. Where to begin can be a difficult question to answer for there are a variety of ways to reach the goal of a lactation consultant. First to consider is how much previous experience you may have with breastfeeding your own children or helping breastfeeding moms.

Oftentimes, women will get their start by becoming a La Leche League Leader and gaining valuable experience through that route. It can take a while to become a leader and meet the organization’s requirements, but it is well worth the effort if you think you want as much experience as possible.

If moving in that direction is not your desire, certainly there are other routes. One would be volunteering your time on the labor and delivery unit of a hospital. Even if you only start as a volunteer delivering meal trays, you may work your way into much more. Also, becoming a certified nursing assistant can be valuable since that can allow for more hands-on experience in a hospital setting.

Volunteering or becoming a leader with La Leche League may also help you determine whether or not becoming a lactation consultant is the best choice for you. Above and beyond the basics of helping mothers learn to breastfeed, you will learn about all the difficulties they may encounter and what kind of support they may need. If you feel you have the desire and ability to pursue, then do just that. There can never be enough help for breastfeeding mothers in a world filled with bottlefeeding families.

Many hospitals will only employ someone as a board-certified lactation consultant if they are also registered nurses, RN. This provides more of a roadblock to people looking for the quickest route to certification. But the option remains of becoming an independent lactation consultant, so don’t lose hope just yet.

Some online programs are available so potential lactation consultants can gain their education through the simplicity of schooling at home and having a local person in a facility help with hands-on experience. The guidelines are always changing so be sure to consult with a lactation consultant or state licensing board to see what the qualifications are to becoming certified.

Once the path is chosen and you are certain you desire this career, start telling your friends so if anyone needs help with breastfeeding they will know to call on you for help so you can learn more and gain experience, since becoming a lactation consultant does require a specified amount of time working and counseling directly with breastfeeding moms.

As people call you for help, be sure to record the hours you spend and who might collaborate with you on confirming what you have done. Also, keep track of all literature read on breastfeeding and any local organizations you volunteered your time with. A little bit can go a long way, and with education which can take up to three years, follow your path correctly so you can achieve what you set out to.

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