Infants thrive best on their mother’s milk. It’s the natural way to feed an infant. The problem is that even though it is natural, it’s not easy to do. Breastfeeding can be a challenging job for a mother, which is why lactation consultants are available.
What Is a Lactation Consultant?
A lactation consultant works in a hospital, medical facility, or private office providing advice, care, and education to mothers and the medical community about breastfeeding. The mission of the lactation consultant is to help mothers successfully nurse their babies.
Lactation Consultant Salary
The salary of a lactation consultant varies depending on where she works. Lactation consultants working in hospitals can earn more than in smaller medical facilities. Some consultants earn more working in a private practice if they have a large number of clients. The area they live in also matters. Lactation consultants working in rural areas tend to earn less than those in urban areas do. On average, lactation consultants earn $79,141, according to CBSalary.com. Some earn as much as $98,417, while others as low as $63,409.
Lactation Consultant Job Description
Lactation consultant jobs involve working with mothers and their families to educate them on the benefits of breastfeeding. They may hold classes in hospitals and medical facilities to help people in a group setting, or help them privately in an office.
Some lactation consultants work in hospitals providing instruction to new mothers on how to nurse. They will visit mothers and their infants throughout their stay in the hospital coaching, instructing, and monitoring the infant’s milk intake.
After a mother leaves the hospital, she may need further assistance. This assistance can be given to new mothers through private consultations. This enables the mother to receive more one-to-one care to boost breastfeeding success.
Lactation consultations are documented in case there are any problems down the road. Hospitals and medical facilities like to track the services of consultants to help improve the success rate of breastfeeding.
Lactation consultants can also hold weekly support groups for new mothers and their infants. These support groups enable mothers to meet other nursing mothers to learn from them and receive comfort through the many perils of nursing.
How to Become a Lactation Consultant
Many lactation consultants start as a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse. After seeing the rewarding work a consultant does, they decide to seek a certification in lactation consulting.
Some lactation consultants do not have a nursing degree at all. They undergo training and then receive their certification.
Lactation Consultant Training
There are three ways to train to become a lactation consultant. Some students graduate from an accredited nursing program, others receive clinical practice from a health professional, and then some receive direct supervision or mentorship.
Lactation Consultant Certification
Upon completion of a lactation consultant training program, an exam from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners is required to become certified. Most employers require that their employees be certified as a lactation consultant.
Is Lactation Consulting for You?
Lactation consultants feel strongly about the benefits of breastfeeding. They want every new mother to be able to nurse their infant for at least the first six months of his or her life. If you feel passionate about the power of nursing, you may be just the right person to become a lactation consultant.