PROLC Mission Statement & Vision:
To protect, promote and support lactation and human milk feeding for the health of all families in southeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.
To become an equitable and inclusive member-driven association providing educational opportunities for the professional development and advancement of all lactation care providers.
To advocate for lactation care providers by sharing resources, networking, and facilitating connections among members.
To connect with other groups and organizations that have the shared goal of improving the health of lactating and human milk feeding families in southeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.
To affirm our support of the world-wide implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. (The Code focuses on regulation of aggressive marketing practices of formula, baby bottles & nipples that can prevent families from reaching their infant feeding goals.)
What is a lactation provider?
There are several different types of lactation providers, differentiated by training.
What is a Lactation Consultant?
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) function as part of the team of maternal/parent-child healthcare providers. They provide expert lactation care in hospitals, public health and pediatric clinics, physician offices, WIC Offices, freestanding lactation centers and in private practice. IBCLCs work with families, policymakers and society to promote changes that support breast/chest feeding. Referrals are made to community resources and other healthcare professionals as needed.
IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). The certification program has been accredited by the U.S. National Commission for certifying agencies since the late 1980s.
IBCLCs earn their certification after obtaining the required hours of clinical practice as well as 90 hours of education in related courses, and passing an examination administered by the IBLCE. IBCLCs must meet continuing education requirements every 5 years or retake the examination administered by the IBLCE to maintain their certification.
IBCLCs carry malpractice insurance and may obtain a National Provider Identification number (NPI) for insurance reimbursement.
IBCLCs do not currently have state licensure in Pennsylvania. The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) recognizes that “efforts to integrate licensing of those who practice lactation care should be accomplished in an inclusive manner that does not restrict the practice of any providers not addressed in the licensing requirements. We are grateful for the foundational efforts to date related to licensure, as we navigate the complexities of healthcare as an entire profession. Enhancing our skills through expanded learning and development while working to further integrate lactation into the broader healthcare landscape will benefit, not only the profession, but also those who receive our care.”
IBCLCs are needed when you and your baby are having persistent or on-going issues with latching, infant weight gain, a premature infant, multiple infants, babies with congenital abnormalities or syndromes, low milk production, inducing lactation, persistent nipple pain/damage, and in medical situations.
What is a Lactation Counselor?
Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) are lactation care providers who have completed at least 52 hours of lactation education based on the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counselor Training course. They must pass an exam administered by the Academy of Lactation Policies and Practice. The CLC credential is valid for 3 years and may be renewed by completion of continuing education credits in approved lactation-specific topics.
The 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 may carry malpractice insurance. CLCs are not considered Allied Healthcare Professionals, and therefore are unable to be credentialed with insurance companies.
Other types of Lactation Support:
Professional lactation support providers work in various settings- health clinics, WIC offices, and in their own practices. There are different kinds of providers such as: Certified Breastfeeding Counselors (CBCs), Certified Breastfeeding or Lactation Educators (CBEs or CLEs), and La Leche League leaders (LLL), all who have received varying levels of education and training and passed a certifying examination. Professional lactation support providers are helpful for common situations like nipple soreness, engorgement, mastitis, pumping and normal nursing relationships.
Community Lactation Support
Mother-to-mother or parent-to parent support is so valuable for families and can be through local support groups, classes, libraries and virtual settings. Volunteers are trained by their organization to provide encouragement, non-medical advice, and referrals.
Childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, nurses & nurse practitioners, dieticians, physicians, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others may offer lactation advice with or without formal lactation training.
The best way to decide which lactation provider you need is to learn about the education and experience of the practitioner and ask about their background and expertise to determine the best option for your family before engaging their services.