Breastfeeding support and advice is plentiful; the challenge is sorting out who will provide reliable information and help. Here are descriptions of various professional and volunteer organizations that offer breastfeeding support. Learn about lactation consultants, doulas, physicians, midwife or simply other mothers who can offer support and knowledge as you navigate breastfeeding.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) – Also called a "lactation consultant," this person is a credentialed breastfeeding support professional who has passed an exam after taking many lactation specific educational courses and having many hours of working with moms and babies helping with their lactation issues. IBCLCs are experienced in helping mothers to breastfeed comfortably and can help address a wide range of breastfeeding concerns. Many IBCLCs are also nurses, doctors, speech therapists, dieticians, or other health professionals. Ask your hospital or birthing center for the name of a lactation consultant who can help you. For more information, you can visit the Find a Lactation Consultant Directory.
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or Educator (CLC OR CBE) – A breastfeeding counselor who can teach others about the health effects of breastfeeding and help women with basic breastfeeding challenges and questions. A "peer" means a person has breastfed her own baby and is available to help other mothers. You can find a peer counselor through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program or La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA. You can also contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 and speak directly with a breastfeeding peer counselor. Some breastfeeding educators have letters after their names like CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) or CBE (Certified Breastfeeding Educator). These people may be helpful when addressing basic concerns and problems and providing basic breastfeeding support.
Doula (DOO-la) – A woman who is professionally trained and experienced in giving social support to birthing families during pregnancy, labor, birth and at home during the first few days or weeks after birth. Doulas help women physically and emotionally, and those who are trained in breastfeeding support can help you be more successful with breastfeeding after birth.
Physician – Pediatricians are medical doctors who focus on treating babies, children and teens. OB/GYNs or obstetrician/gynecologists are medical doctors who focus on treating women's reproductive health issues before, during and after pregnancy. Many physicians have also received some basic lactation training.
Certified Nurse-Midwife – A healthcare professional who provides care to women throughout their lifespan with a specific focus on pregnancy, labor and birth. Many midwives have also received some basic lactation training and can provide breastfeeding support.
La Leche League International - The world’s leading breastfeeding organization of mothers helping mothers. 800-LA-LECHE (800-525-3243) to find a group that meets in your area and a local number to call for advice. http://www.llli.org/
Breastfeeding USA - Breastfeeding USA is an organization of breastfeeding counselors who provides evidence-based breastfeeding information and offer mother to mother support. https://breastfeedingusa.org/
This is general information and does not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away. Every baby is different. If in doubt, contact your physician or healthcare provider.