What is an IBCLC and why might you need to use one?

There is a lot of confusion out there about the different levels of breastfeeding support available to mums and babies.

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the highest level of breastfeeding support and have very specific training. IBCLCs either come from a healthcare background, or have to sit 14 health science related subjects before applying for the exam. They also need to do 90 hours of lactation specific training and have to have 1000 hours of clinical practice (ie 1000 hours of experience in supporting breastfeeding and breastfeeding mums) before being allowed to apply for the exam.

Once qualified IBCLCs are required to keep up to date with current research by attending conferences and webinars. They resubmit for their IBCLC certificate after 5 years with proof of attending 75 hours of training. After 10 years they are required to sit the exam again.

IBCLCs can support you with more complicated issues such as faltering growth, tongue tie assessment, breastfeeding problems, reflux, a non latching baby, as well as more straightforward breastfeeding support.

IBCLCs are also obliged to work according to the IBLCE Code of Professional Conduct and carry full professional insurance. Most IBCLCs are members of

Please note that there are many people giving breastfeeding advice as a ‘Lactation Consultant” or “Breastfeeding Specialist”. When looking for quality breastfeeding support always make sure that they are an IBCLC and their license is still valid at the IBLCE registry

Kathryn has over 13 years of experience supporting mums to breastfeed their babies. She began her training after the birth of her twins when she received wonderful breastfeeding support. Given the chance to train to be a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, she jumped at the chance to give something back. She headed up the multiple birth breastfeeding project in Harrow offering antenatal education and post natal support. Kathryn continued her breastfeeding education by training as a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and was proud to be the 2017 winner of the ABM’s Pam’s Prize, celebrating Breastfeeding Counsellors and all the support they give. She continues to volunteer on the National Breastfeeding Helpline whenever she has some free time. Wanting to increase her knowledge further, Kathryn trained as an IBCLC.

Kathryn offers post natal breastfeeding support in the comfort of your own home and antenatal education in groups or individually. She specialises in multiple birth families. Kathryn is also available to speak at conferences and webinars. Her mission is to empower mums to breastfeed their babies, whether one, two or three at a time, give evidence based information and empathic support and to educate others that breastfeeding more than one baby is definitely possible.