Q and A Session With Our Local IBCLC!
I struggled with breast feeding both of my sons. Even after I breast fed my first son over a year, there were new challenges with my second. It was something that was supposed to come naturally to me as a mother, so why was it so dang hard??? That’s when my doula referred me to an IBCLC who opened her loving arms at 9pm at night and stayed with me until almost midnight to allow a feeding, me to nap, and the next feeding. I jokingly called her my fairy “boob” mother. She is the reason I have had such a successful breast feeding relationship.
I recently came Jesica Miller, IBCLC of Learn,Latch,Latch, and Love in Mt. Pleasant. She polietly agreed to a little Q and A session for my blog post this week! She is gonna answer a few questions related to breastfeeding and her business Learn, Latch, Love. Thanks you for your time Jessica!!!
1: Can you tell me the difference between a IBCLC and CLC?
An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), sometimes referred to as a LC,
has an extensive education in the science of lactation. Exam candidates must have an existing
license as a health professional or have taken 14 specific college courses as prerequisites.
They have 90 hours of approved breastfeeding specific education and between 300-1000 hours
of clinical experience. IBCLC's sit for a board certification exam. They recertify every 5 years
with 75 hours of continuing education hours and retake the exam every 10 years. It is the only
certification recognized by the US Surgeon General as a lactation consultant. IBCLCs are
qualified to help moms with a wide range of breastfeeding difficulties. They can set up private
A CLC is a certified lactation counselor. They have 45 hours of lactation specific education that
is taken during a five day course. An exam is given at the end of the course. The course is
modeled after the Unicef/ WHO Breastfeeding Counselor Training Course. There are not any
prerequisites to taking the course. There are not any clinical experiences. The certification is
from the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. CLCs demonstrate competency in
breastfeeding counseling, assessment, and support skills. They recertify every 3 years with 18
hours of continuing education.
2: How long have you been a IBCLC, and in what ways do you serve the community?
I have been an IBCLC since 2008. I currently work part time at a community hospital, have my
private practice where I go out to mom's homes for consultations, have an evening
breastfeeding support group in Mt Pleasant, and am the LC for a research study on preemies. I
love supporting women and helping them to meet their goals.
3: What are some hurdles for new moms vs established moms?
New moms can get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. There are two books
that I suggest to new moms. The first is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It is a treasure
chest of information. The second is The Happiest Baby on the Block. It is written by a
pediatrician and goes over the 5 S's of calming a fussy baby. I also recommend that new moms
find a breastfeeding support group. There they can meet other moms and receive support in
Experienced moms express concern about balancing breastfeeding and taking care of a
newborn with taking care of their other children. I recommend having special activities that are
reserved for feeding time. Some examples are reading a book and watching a special video or
show. It is also a good idea for moms to have a room that is safe for a toddler to run around in.
That makes it easier when feeding because there isn't the worry that they can get into trouble.
Mom can feed while watching the older one. Baby wearing is also a lifesaver. My boys are 16
months apart and wearing my youngest in a sling allowed me to be hands free for my older son.
4. When you do suggest families come to you for guidance?
I suggest families contact me for help if they have been told to supplement with formula, a
history of low milk supply, painful latching, multiples, baby is slow to gain weight, need a plan for
returning to work, or have a baby that was born premature.
5. What are some common misconceptions about breast feeding?
It is normal to get cracks and blisters in the beginning. That comes from a shallow latch. Some
tenderness is normal from the hormone changes and getting used to nursing a baby. The baby is using the mom as a pacifier when feedings increase before milk comes in. The
increased demand helps the milk come in. It also helps the baby to return to birthweight faster.
Moms with small breasts do not make as much milk. Breast size depends more on the amount
of supporting fibrous and fatty tissue than the amount of milk glands
Jesica Miller, IBCLC