Why Take the Lactation Counselor Training Course?FAQ

Breastfeeding is an important public health issue.  In order to better support breastfeeding families, it has been recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, among other international and national health authorities, that all maternal/child health care workers be educated in skills necessary to support breastfeeding families.  The art and science of breastfeeding is not a matter for specialists alone, but is a foundation of health that should be widely understood and respected. To further this goal, the World Health Organization and UNICEF have recognized the need for four different levels of breastfeeding training:  a 10 hour course for administrators and policy makers; a 20 hour course for maternity staff in Baby-Friendly birth facilities; and a more advanced 40 hour course for breastfeeding counselors, and an 80 hour course for trainers or Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative assessors. The Lactation Counselor Training Course is based on the footprint of the WHO/UNCEF 40 hour course.

CLC with MomWhat is the Lactation Counselor Training Course?

The Center for Breastfeeding's Lactation Counselor Training Course is a forty-five hour course designed to provide a solid, up-to-date, research based body of information regarding lactation as well the art of counseling.  This course is offered at a variety of locations throughout the United States and around the world, training over 4,500 participants annually. Learners are engaged in over forty-five hours of didactic and experiential activities during this five-day course.  On the final day, an examination is administered by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).  The exam consists of two parts: a didatic multiple choice written test (some questions refer to photographs) and a practical video assessment test. A certificate, and the designation Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), is awarded by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice to all learners who pass the exam and all competencies and who agree to comply with the Scope of Practice and the Code of Ethics.  Participation in the exam is not required of learners.  However, it is only after successful completion of the course and examination that the Lactation Counselor Certificate is conferred.  Participants of the course receive continuing education credits regardless of the outcome of the examination. The certificate expires after three years, and may be renewed by submission of a minimum of 18 hours of continuing education.

Who Should Take the Lactation Counselor Training Course?

The course is intended for professional and volunteer health care workers, such as nurses, midwives, physicians, dietitians, nutritionists, WIC staff, breastfeeding peer counselors, mother-to-mother counselors, childbirth educators, doulas, speech and occupational therapists, child welfare workers, etc.  While professional and personal experiences with breastfeeding are of benefit to learners, there are no pre-requisite requirements for this program, other than a sincere desire to learn about breastfeeding. What do people have to say about our course? Click here to find out!

What Does this Course Qualify Me to Do?CLC hands on

Successful completion of the course signifies that the learner has met the required competencies and has a firm grounding in information and counseling skills required to provide basic support to breastfeeding mothers and children. Successful candidates have demonstrated competency in breastfeeding counseling, breastfeeding assessment and support skills.

CLCs work in hospitals, at WIC, at pediatric offices, in private practice, in community programs... They are L&D nurses, NICU nurses, mother baby nurses, public health nurses, LPNs, doctors, nutritionists, SLPs, OTs, doulas, peer counselors, midwives, perinatal outreach workers, volunteer breastfeeding counselors, and moms who want to learn more.
CLCs teach breastfeeding courses, counsel new mothers and babies, help with breastfeeding issues providing clinical management in the hospital and community and more. To see the scope of practice, please click here.

Completion of this course satisfies the 20-hour staff member training requirement of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.  The credit hours received through this five-day course may be applied to the continuing education hours required to sit for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (“IBLCE”) examination or to renew the IBLCE credential by CERPs. Many participants have reported that completing this course helped to broaden their knowledge of breastfeeding, identify their strengths as a counselor as well as the areas for growth.  Many also pursue additional courses and sit for the IBLCE exam.  Experienced IBCLCs have told us that taking this course was helpful in preparing to renew their credential through examination. This course is also one of the pre-requisites for the Advance Lactation Consultant and Advanced Nurse Lactation Consultant certifications.

Completion of this course does not expand the practice parameters of any health professional (nor does any other available lactation training program).  Participants are encouraged to undertake ongoing study. The goal of the Center for Breastfeeding faculty is to provide a sound framework of research-based knowledge and to whet the appetite of learners so that they may build upon and enhance this framework with life long education.


What National Credentializing Organizations Recognize this Course?

The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification is recognized nationally by the following credentialing bodies:

ANCC Provider LogoThe American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Healthy Children Project, Inc. is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

ANSIAmerican National Standards Institute
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited Healthy Children’s Academy of Lactation Policy & Practice (ALPP) Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification program based on the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard. ANSI is well-recognized within the industry as enforcing the highest standards in personnel certification accreditation.

CDRThe Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the American Dietetic Association
The CDR has approved this program for continuing education credits for registered dietitians.

IBLCEThe International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
Healthy Children has been approved as a provider of Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) for lactation consultants.

AARCThe Lactation Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC)
Healthy Children's CLC course has been approved.

LamazeLamaze International
Credits gained from successful completion of this course may also be applied toward Lamaze recertification.



What Books are Recommended?

During the Lactation Counselor Training Course, you will be using the required textbook: Pocket Guide for Lactation Management by Karin Cadwell and Cindy Turner- Maffei. It is available for purchase on the registration form, or you can purchase it from Amazon.com by clicking on the link provided. There can be multiple participants using the same text book.

The Pocket Guide is an Evidence-Based Guide for All Health Care Providers! This easy-to-use guide is the perfect planning resource and a key reference for the variety of situations commonly encountered by those working with lactating and breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Conveniently organized by the issue that the health care provider will meet, this pocket guide helps caregivers quickly resolve key challenges such as: babies who aren t gaining weight fast enough, mother with sore nipples, and basic sucking problems. Quick reference charts, algorithms and diagrams assist the caregiver in quickly determining whether they have assessed the situation correctly.

Our Lactation Counselor Training Program travels all across the country! Would you like to download a PDF version of our flyer? Click here for the Spring 2018 CLC Flyer. Or call, fax or write to us for more information.

What is the Scope of Practice of a CLC?

CLCs have successfully completed a 45-hour training based upon the footprint of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counselling Training Course*,  have successfully passed a criterion-referenced examination, and demonstrated the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating and breastfeeding women 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.

• Ability to use appropriate, effective and sensitive communication skills.

• Ability to identify opportunities to offer information/education within the counseling encounter.

• Ability to assess physical and psychosocial aspects 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.

• Knowledge of programs, policies and legislation on state, national and international levels that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

The CLC course and exam addresses concerns regarding competency by validating that a skills program meets national design standards. Participants can validate and claim continued proficiency in their specialized skills. ALPP develops and administers the CLC examination to assess the knowledge and skills that underlie competent practice in lactation counseling. The development, administration and scoring of the CLC exam, after participants have met the skills competency requirements, promotes competency in lactation management, skills, and knowledge and thereby fulfills the mission of ALPP.

The purpose of the CLC certification is to protect the public by identifying individuals who are competent in lactation management skills and knowledge.

This scope of practice addresses the foundation activities that CLCs have the knowledge and skill to accomplish. Many individuals who hold the CLC credential have other licensure and education, including nurses, peer counselors, doulas, dietitians, nutritionists, physicians, midwives, occupational and speech therapy, mental healthcounselors, etc. Because of the diverse background and training of CLCs, this listing does not encompass activities that many CLCs may conduct under the umbrella of other licensure, training, or knowledge.

Knowledge and Competency of the CLC

The credentialed CLC has demonstrated the knowledge and skill to:

• Construct and maintain conditions that predispose mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience through counseling, education, clinical management and support.

• Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions predisposing mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience.

•Assess for, monitor and evaluate physical conditions that predispose mothers and babies to a complex breastfeeding experience.

• Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions that predispose mothers and babies to complex breastfeeding experiences.

• Identify and advocate for aspects of breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes.

• Assess breastfeeding using a multi-faceted approach.

• Use counseling skills and techniques that are supportive to breastfeeding mothers and babies.

• Identify and advocate for public health strategies that serve to protect breastfeeding.

• Coordinate care consistent with standards of professional ethics and behavior.

Thus, the ALPP CLC has demonstrated readiness to:

• Promote breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding and care.

• Counsel and educate pregnant women and mothers regarding breastfeeding.

• Conduct comprehensive assessment of mother and child related to breastfeeding

• Develop a care plan specific to the needs identified through assessment and counseling

• Assess the needs of women and babies who are at risk of, or currently experiencing lactation difficulties, providing care and triaging referral to other care providers as needed

To see the ALPP CLC Code of Ethics, please click here to go to the Academy's website.

ANCC Accredited Organization are trademarks of the American Nurses Credentialing Center . All Rights Reserved.

**WHO/UNICEF. Breastfeeding counseling: a training course. Geneva: WHO, 1993. Accessed at http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/documents/who_cdr_93_3/en/  on August 28, 2009 


How do I Recertify My CLC?

The CLC credential lasts for 3 years, and requires 18 hours of continuing education in order to recertify. For more information, please contact The Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice at www.alpp.org . There is a recertification handbook available for download on their website under forms and you can always give them a call at (508) 833-1500. 

Would you like a flyer about becoming a CLC? 

Send me a CLC flyer

Please add me to the on-line mailing list to find out more information about Courses and Conferences

CLC Information Request Form
Contact Information

Is this your HOME address? 





Address 2