Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sit for the Exam in 2011

Okay, there are a couple of posts I should probably be doing right now, but I really feel like I need to put this suggestion out there now.  I saw several people at the Breastfeeding Summit that were looking for a class to take to prepare them to sit for the IBCLC Exam.  As I engaged in conversation and learned about their background and experience, I told them to quit looking and start studying.

My advice is based on the changes coming up in 2012.  If you are experienced in lactation and have sat beside many moms helping them, don't be intimidated by a test.  If you are a competent lactation educator/counselor, you do not need to worry about an evaluation of your skills and knowledge.  I know the Exam can be intimidating and if you haven't had "formal" education, it can cause you to doubt yourself--don't let it!  No instruction can replace experience.  I have also talked students out of taking the exam because they may have met the qualifications, but were not ready to be lactation consultants. If you are ready, go for it, but if you are not--prepare.  Decide where you are personally.

You may be the complete opposite:  loads of experience, but lacking some CEU's or maybe even short a few counseling hours.  I would rather see you grab some CEU's from the web, LLL conference or other conferences and add a day of counseling so you have the requirements in order to be ready to test this year.

Next year, you will be required to take college courses and it could really hinder your progress towards sitting for the exam. Not only the time it will take, but the expense.  Weigh your options.  If you can get your act together by the application deadline--consider this blog a "kick in the pants", if there is no way, consider this a reminder to start looking for college courses or on-line courses so you do not get caught unprepared next year.

Okay, I said it, if you can take the exam this year because you have (or can get) the CEU's and counseling hours--go for it! Purchase the Core Curriculum, Counseling the Nursing Mom and Breastfeeding and Human Lactation.  Read, study, observe and sit with confidence.  If nothing else, it will take the "fear of the unknown" out of sitting in 2012.  You will not loose anything (well, maybe the investment, but you can also still apply for a scholarship until January 31).

One person that stopped by my table at the Summit thought it was funny that I talked her out of taking my class and into sitting for the exam this year.  I guess I haven't made it clear that my goal is to help everyone where they are at.  If you are ready, I will encourage you to take the next step; if you need preparation, I will prepare you; if you need prodding...I can do that too!  Let me know what direction you will be going, and remember--always enjoy the journey!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Resources for LC's

Sorry, I have procrastinated until almost the last day with this blog.  My goal is to take each topic from the Study Schedule and write about it during the week it is highlighted.  I hope my notes in your inbox will be a reminder to keep moving forward and tackle one discipline at a time...July will be here before we know it.  If you haven't downloaded your Study Schedule (or as I like to think of it, your time budget), go to and look under "Resources."

There are a lot of really good resources for Lactation Consultants available.  I started the study schedule with this topic since some of the other topics will require you to search articles, read journals, refer moms to others when a problem is outside of your scope of practice.  Anyway, look over these resources, bookmark the ones you think you may need again and add to them for others checking out the blog.

It is always important to be part of your professional organizations, so I want to start with  ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association).  They have added a new category to their membership this year!  I am very excited since the access to their website is invaluable.  The fee for US members is $165, but this statement now appears on the ILCA website:
     ILCA recognizes that students may benefit from membership in ILCA... ILCA also realizes  
     that many students are not working fulltime and may have difficulty paying for full membership. 
     Therefore, ILCA now offers a STUDENT-level of membership.  This membership will give you 
     all the benefits of ILCA membership EXCEPT you will not receive a print copy of the Journal
     —only online access...this can be used a maximum of 2 years.
The catch is an instructor must sign off that the member is a student in a Lactation Course.  Any GOO Student can print this form out and fax it to me, other students need to have their professors sign the form prior to sending it in.  This is a savings of up to $200 over a two-year period.  You can find the Student Application at   For more information about ILCA and the membership benefits, visit

If you are a practicing LC or student earning hours and are looking into professional insurance, the United States Lactation Consultants Association has liability insurance available to members.  You can join ILCA and USLCA together for one rate.

Another must-have resource is Dr. Hale's medication website.  This site explains medications and how they relate to lactation and pregnancy.  This is great to refer moms to or to keep yourself aware of new drugs and their interactions during pregnancy and lactation.  Dr. Hale has a brand-new website at  It is worth checking out.

Looking for another resource and Jack Newman's articles?  Those will be found at  This site also takes pride in adhering to the WHO Code.  Additional information about the WHO Code can be found at the WHO page, which also has breastfeeding information and fact sheets.

Remember the national and local branches of LLLI which offers a wealth of information and local resources.

The last one I will mention is WIC/USDA and one of my favorites, (this site is still under construction to some degree, but soon Riverside County residents will have a wealth of information, including local clinics and support groups, available to them.  There is also a toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual number for Riverside County residents.

I have given you some food for thought.  Each one of these sites have several links and you could be kept busy navigating around the web for months.  Pick a few trusted sites, and add to your list as your studies and research leads you to reputable locations.  I know this is a very small sample.  I have not included a lot of government programs, blogs, and some of the well-known sites like Kellymom or are all good sites and resources, but the study topic this week is "Resources for Lactation Consultants" and I just wanted to give you a sampling.  Your job is to search and document which ones you like and feel would be most beneficial.  Also, additional links are on my website,, and I welcome additional submissions there, and as comments here.

These are exciting times for lactation.  Breastfeeding and the demand for lactation help is on the rise.  Keep focused on your journey and I will be back nest week with "Lactation Management"