While we celebrate our wonderful lactation consultants every day at our Palo Alto and San Francisco stores, we are delighted to join our community and everyone around the globe in recognizing and celebrating March 2 as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants Day! Today we celebrate DayOne Baby’s lactation consultants, Ami Burnham, Jenn Suffin, Maren McCabe, and Gillian Arundal.
An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) under the direction of the US National Commission for Certifying Agencies. It is important to note that there are a variety of lactation professionals out there with different, and often confusing letters after their names. It is generally recognized that the IBCLC is the gold-standard of these different designations, most notably differentiated by the expectation of extensive clinical experience during training and an established scope of practice. Our training prepares us to provide not only general breastfeeding support, but also the competence to address more advanced lactation issues.
There are several pathways to becoming an IBCLC, as outlined by the IBLCE. Each of those pathways requires college-level education in specified health science subjects, education in human lactation and breastfeeding, and clinical practice in providing care to breastfeeding families. This education can take several years to complete and culminates in the opportunity to sit for the board certification exam, which when I was originally certified in 2008, was given once a year on the same day all over the world.
At DayOne Baby we are fortunate to have an amazing team of dedicated lactation consultants who make a meaningful impact on so many families. Low milk supply, sore nipples, engorgement, twins, preemies, sleepy baby, oversupply, history of breast surgery, slow gaining baby, tongue tie, special needs such as cleft palate, fussy baby, returning to work, and pumping techniques and schedules– you name it, our lactation consultants have seen it! Our team is known and respected by local physicians and hundreds of families in the San Francisco area for supporting moms with their breastfeeding goals.
We are grateful to our team and all lactation consultants around the world who serve as educators and champions to moms in need. We asked one of our lactation consultants, Jennifer Suffin, IBCLC, RLC about her journey.
Even before having my own kids, I’d always been the type of person who wants to help others find their way, offering encouragement and support, sprinkled with a little humor. I’ve always been drawn to the “helping” professions and found my calling as an IBCLC after my own experiences with pregnancy and motherhood. I had an amazing pregnancy, but the birth and subsequent months were nothing like I had imagined they would be and amongst all the emotions, sensations and challenges, I found myself seeking support and searching for answers.
I definitely believe my early experience with my daughter led me to seek out a way to help others and what better way than to support other moms during their early challenges. My daughter loves to hear me tell the story that ultimately she is the reason I became a lactation consultant.
I went back to school when my daughter was two to become a Certified Lactation Educator. This distinction allowed me the opportunity to teach breastfeeding, newborn care and sibling classes and facilitate support groups and was considered a portion of the education required to earn the IBCLC designation.
I spent a lot of time researching how to become an IBCLC and found a program through the University of California San Diego Extension. There I completed the remainder of my classroom requirements as well as my clinical hours that were required before I sat for the exam. I did this while I was a breastfeeding mom myself – my second daughter was just 4 months old when I went back to school. Since then, I have been re-certified once, as it is a requirement to do this every 5 years. I continue to read professional journals and to attend conferences and courses, earning continuing education credits so that I can stay on top of current research and trends. These conferences, as well as social media and local groups, allow me the opportunity to increase my knowledge through communication and collaboration with other lactation professionals. A big source of my continuing education, though, is what I learn from the moms and families I get the honor and pleasure of working with on a daily basis.
For anyone interested in learning more about the profession and the requirements for becoming a lactation consultant, I suggest you take a look at the following websites:
To join in the celebrations you can visit the IBCLC page, share photos of your little one and tag @DayOneBaby and #happyIBCLCday, or email us. If you had a nice consultation with one of our lactation consultants, we would love to hear about it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story!
Happy IBCLC Day!
We also offer a drop-in Breastfeeding Support Group.