Certified Lactation Counselors
The Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) designation from the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, Inc. is the premier national certification in lactation management in the United States. CLC certificates are required to pass core competencies and skill verification as well as a psychometrically designed exam based on a job-task analysis.
A credentialed CLC has demonstrated the knowledge and skill to:
- Assess breastfeeding using a multi-faceted approach.
- Use counseling skills and techniques that are supportive to breastfeeding mothers and babies.
- Construct and maintain conditions that predispose mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience through counseling, education, and support.
- Assess for, monitor, and evaluate physical conditions that predispose mothers and babies to a complex breastfeeding experience.
- Educate, counsel, and support families with complex breastfeeding situations.
- Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural, and social conditions that predispose mothers and babies to complex breastfeeding conditions.
- Identify and advocate for aspects of breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes.
- Identify and advocate for public health strategies that serve to protect breastfeeding.
- Coordinate care consistent with standards of professional ethics and behavior.
The CLC Impact
Part of the team
CLCs are members of the healthcare team who can provide knowledge and counseling about optimal and suboptimal breastfeeding. The CLC works to solve problems in conjunction with other professionals and strives to provide appropriate referrals and recommendations.
CLCs understand that breastfeeding decisions are made by the mother, who may have values and goals different from the counselor. A counseling approach is used to elicit information and provide appropriate support to the mother and family.
In the Community
The CLC works to increase breastfeeding rates, advocates for societal change in attitudes and behavior regarding breastfeeding, teaches breastfeeding classes, and assists mothers in successfully breastfeeding exclusively and for longer durations.
Scope Of Practice For The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®)
The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification identifies a professional in lactation counseling who has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to provide breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding/lactation.
CLCs are individuals who have successfully completed a minimum of 52 hours of training based upon the footprint of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course and a Job Task Analysis; have passed a criterion-referenced examination administered by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP); and have demonstrated the clinical competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding families, including the:
- Ability to recognize one’s own and others’ attitudes, values, and expectations about infant feeding and healthy lifestyles.
- Ability to apply the concept of an individualized approach to counseling and management of breastfeeding, from preconception through weaning.
- Ability to use appropriate, effective, and client-centered communication skills.
- Ability to identify opportunities to offer information/education within the counseling encounter to breastfeeding families, the whole family constellation, the community, health care providers, and other health care workers.
- Ability to assess physical, nutritional, and psychosocial aspects and the mental status of the breastfeeding dyad.
- Ability to utilize reliable tools to assess affective/ineffective breastfeeding and milk transfer.
- Ability to incorporate evidence based approaches to practice and make appropriate referrals operating on the continuum of the health care team.
- Knowledge of programs, policies and legislation on state, national, and international levels that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
All CLCs have completed a minimum of 52 hours of education that relate directly to the WHO/Unicef (World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund) competency areas for breastfeeding (lactation) counselors and have demonstrated the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women.
Verified competencies include:
- Clinical breastfeeding skills
Source: ALPP The Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice
visit: www.alpp.org for more information