What is a Lactation Consultant Nurse? Eligibility & Criteria

A new mother experiences lots of changes in their life once their new baby arrives. Knowing where to start and who to turn to can be challenging if they have questions or concerns about breastfeeding, nutrition, sleep, or other motherhood-related topics. This is why the role of a Lactation consultant nurse is so important. This post will explain in detail about Lactation consultant nurses.

What is a Lactation Consultant Nurse?

A Lactation Consultant Nurse is a specialized healthcare professional who assists and educates women about breastfeeding. They are typically Registered Nurses (RNs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), or International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).

What Does Lactation Nurse Do?

A lactation consultant nurse helps mothers learn how to properly care for their infants by providing breastfeeding education and support. They assess the mother’s concerns, perform physical examinations to determine the health of her breasts and nipples, provide nutrition counseling to help ensure that a healthy milk supply is established, make recommendations about how long and often to breastfeed, assist mothers in learning proper positioning and latch-on techniques, demonstrate the use of breast pump and other breastfeeding aids, and provide emotional support.

They also help mothers understand when to seek medical assistance if problems arise or if more severe conditions, such as mastitis, are present.

What Unit is Lactation Nurse?

Lactation Consultant Nurses are typically part of a hospital’s Maternity Unit or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They often work closely with obstetricians, midwives, neonatologists, and pediatricians to ensure that mothers receive the best care possible while breastfeeding their children. In addition, lactation consultant nurses may support mothers in the home setting, such as pediatrician offices and lactation clinics.

Are there any specialized credentials for Lactation Nurse?

Yes, there are specialized credentials available for lactation consultant nurses. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) offers both a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) and an IBCLC certification, depending on the level of experience and education a person has. To become an IBCLC, one must pass a rigorous examination designed to test knowledge of lactation’s anatomy, physiology, and psychology.

In addition, some states require lactation consultant nurses to complete continuing education requirements or participate in supervision programs as part of their certification.

What is the Difference Between IBCLC and LC?

IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This is the highest credential available for lactation consultant nurses and requires that a person pass the IBLCE examination. LC, on the other hand, stands for Lactation Consultant and is typically given to people who have obtained certification from a state-approved program or have acquired at least two years of experience in lactation counseling.

How to Become a Lactation Consultant Nurse?

Educational Eligibility: To become a lactation consultant nurse, one must first earn a degree in nursing and be licensed as an RN. Depending on the state, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher may be required to practice as an IBCLC.

Training: The next step is to obtain specialized training in breastfeeding counseling. This typically consists of attending workshops, courses, and conferences on lactation.

Certification: To become certified as an IBCLC, applicants must pass the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) examination. Those who wish to practice in a particular state may also need additional credentials or licensure from their respective state board.

Experience: To increase their chances of passing the IBLCE examination, aspiring lactation consultant nurses should gain experience in patient care related to breastfeeding. This can be done through volunteer and/or paid work experiences. Applicants may also need to complete supervised clinical hours as part of their certification process.

Required Skills:

  • Knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and psychology related to lactation.
  • Ability to conduct physical examinations of breasts and nipples.
  • Excellent communication skills for educating patients on breastfeeding techniques.
  • Ability to assess patient’s concerns and provide emotional support.
  • Skilled in the use of breast pumps and other breastfeeding aids.
  • Familiarity with state and national laws/regulations concerning breastfeeding.
  • Completion of continuing education requirements as necessary.

Pros and Cons of a Lactation Nurse?

  • The work is incredibly rewarding.
  • You can directly impact the health and well-being of mothers and their babies.
  • The position provides flexible hours/schedules.
  • Good salary potential with a combination of wages and benefits.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with other healthcare professionals.
  • The chance to work in diverse settings such as hospitals, clinics, or home visits.
  • The job can be demanding and require long hours.
  • Can be challenging to balance with family life/other commitments.
  • Some states may have restrictive laws concerning lactation consulting.
  • May require additional certification for specific settings.
  • Can be physically demanding depending on the type of work being done.
  • Emotional demands can take a toll as you support mothers in need.

What is the Salary of a Lactation Consultant Nurse?

Salaries for lactation consultant nurses can vary significantly depending on the type of setting and the number of years of experience. According to PayScale, the median salary for an IBCLC is $90,000 per year, with wages ranging from$80,000 to over $101,000 annually.

However, the salary of Lactation nurses can vary according to the hospital setting, state, and other factors. A lactation consultant nurse may work on a salary or hourly basis, depending on the position and employer. In addition, some employers may offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage employees to stay in their positions.


What is the highest lactation certification?

The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is the highest lactation certification. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners offers this certification and requires a rigorous education in human lactation, assessment of breastfeeding, and strategies for supporting mothers.

What is the difference between a Lactation Consultant and a Breastfeeding Counselor?

The primary difference between a Lactation Consultant and a Breastfeeding Counselor is the level of education and experience. A Breastfeeding Counselor has generally completed training in breastfeeding support but has a different level of experience or education than a Lactation Consultant. The IBCLC certification is the gold standard in lactation care and requires extensive knowledge and clinical experience.

Final Words

As a Lactation Consultant Nurse, you must be dedicated to providing quality support and care for mothers and their babies. It should be your mission to ensure every mother has access to the best possible resources for breastfeeding her baby. With this in mind, I strive to create an environment that encourages learning, understanding, and respect for the unique needs of both mother and baby.

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