Lactation Consultants. . . Tell me about your career. . .? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-26-2009, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey mamas! I am kind of in a career rut right now and am exploring options. I am a SAHM and have been since the birth of my first so I have had no work experience since I was a teacher pre-birth. I am however a Le Leche League leader and lead meetingS 2X a month. I absolutly LOVE it! Helping mamas in need and creating that circle of support. I really enjoy it! I was reading into this a little and thought perhaps I could make the lead to become board certified and actually get PAID for helping mamas with breast problems. I was only looking to work mayeb 2 days a week 16 hrs total, as I don't really need the money (but a great bonus!) and wouldn't want to leave mt two young children with anyone other than their dad (he is now working a 4 day work week, which would leave me to work two of the three days he has off and save one day for family). I was doing reaserch and from what I read, LC's get paid great money, in MN here they get paid more than RN's! I would actually prefer to work in a hospital where there is more of a need and more flexibilty (as mamas are always having babies!) Sooooooo....

1. How did you go about your training and from where? How did you get the hours you need to train?
2. Ball park range of what you make (feel free to skip this if this is too intrusive)
3. Is this a feesable career with two small needy children (in terms of flexibilty ect.)
4. Where do you work?
5. If you work in the hospital do you like it? Good idea?

Thanx mamas for helping me out with my research and thinking!

Samantha:: love.gif {Waldorf Doll Maker} broc1.gif{Organic Farmer}knit.gif{crafter} computergeek2.gif {blogger}  and crunchy mama to 4 boys under 5! run.gif

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#2 of 18 Old 10-27-2009, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No LC's here? Should I try the breastfeeding board?

Samantha:: love.gif {Waldorf Doll Maker} broc1.gif{Organic Farmer}knit.gif{crafter} computergeek2.gif {blogger}  and crunchy mama to 4 boys under 5! run.gif

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#3 of 18 Old 10-27-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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I am not an IBCLC, but am heading in that direction. I am also a LLL leader which is a great benefit toward accumulating your clinical hours required to sit for the board exam. Have you checked out the IBLCE website? http://www.iblce.org/index.php

Answers to your questions:
1. I worked in a free standing birth center as a birth assistant, got interested in lactation, took the Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding course (45 hours which counts toward the IBCLC requirement) so am now a Certified Lactation Counselor. I earn hours by teaching classes and providing breastfeeding help at the birth center where I work. I also earn hours as a LLL leader (500 per year).

2. N/A since I am not an IBCLC yet.

3. From the IBCLCs that I know personally who have private practices, the hours are extremely flexible and fit in well with family life. Also it is easy to do it on a part time basis. I don't know about hospital work though.

4. As a CLC I am working at a birth center. When I become an IBCLC, I will probably open a private practice since I doubt my employers can afford to pay me a salary. I would love to set up an office here at the birth center. I have also heard of IBCLC's working in conjunction with/renting space from pediatricians offices.

5. Since I'm not a nurse, it is not likely that I could get a hospital job even if I wanted to. It may be different depending on where you live.

HTH!
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#4 of 18 Old 11-01-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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I am not an IBCLC, but I used to be a LLLL and I am a L&D RN. In my community, the only IBCLC's are hospital based AND they are all RN's. I couldn't imagine any hospital in my area hiring a non RN LC.

I had a friend who went the route you are talking about. She tried to set up a private LC practice. She eventually closed it. It is hard starting your own business. I do really wish we had a private IBCLC we could refer moms to.

I don't want to be a negative nelly, but I would find out if there is even a possibility of getting hired somewhere before investing a lot of time and money. You can always set up a private practice if you can't find someone to hire you.

Janel ~ wife and mother of 4, L&D RN, midwifery student
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#5 of 18 Old 11-03-2009, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamas soo much for anwsering me! I was hoping to get board certified and work at a hospital for the pay/benefits/flexibilty ect. and not becoming a RN or opening my own practice anywhere. Is that even possible? Perhaps a free standing birth center (we just opened our first one here in mn) could hire me w/o being a nurse?

So to work at a hospital you need to be a nurse first? Hmmm I sense a lot of school and A LOT more work ahead of me. . . .

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#6 of 18 Old 11-03-2009, 04:39 PM
 
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I think it really depends on where you live. Yes, the majority of hospital based LC's are nurses, but where I live (the NY Metro Area), more and more hospitals are hiring LC who aren't nurses. So I would ask around to find out what's going on in your specific area. I also know that in NY, there are many busy private practice LC's.

Good luck! I'm on the path to becoming an IBCLC too

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#7 of 18 Old 11-05-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I am currently enrolled in a masters program through Union for lactation consulting. I am almost finished my CLC course that I need to begin my internship with a local IBCLC. Almost every one in my class is a L&D nurse, postpartum nurse, nurse midwife, or in public health. One thing that we have been discussing is scope of practice. From what I can tell, the RN's really have a grasp on scope of practice and they can bring that to their practice as IBCLC. I have been planning on going to nursing school once I finish my masters and I have never felt more confident in my decision than this week. If you can afford it, I would first go to nursing school and then take the CLC training. Then I would work on a postpartum floor until you can build your clinical hours to take the IBCLC.

Good luck.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#8 of 18 Old 11-10-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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Hi! I worked for 2.5yrs as a breastfeeding peer counselor directly with IBCLC's. I'm on the path to becoming one. I've answered this question A LOT in online groups so Im going to just copy & paste my response. Hope it helps!

I'm currently working on becoming an IBCLC. I was a BF peer counselor at two local hospitals, I worked directly with IBCLC. I was hired by WIC but I was different then every other PC WIC employs because they normally work in the community and clinics, mostly doing telephone support. I worked for 2.5yrs and during this time I occurred over 500hrs. You need to work directly under supervision of an LC for the breastfeeding counseling hours to count.

In January I'm taking a the Human Lactation course by Jan Rouridan via distance learning through Wichita State Univ. It accounts for 45 lactation education hours, 60 if you write a paper. Only 45hrs of lactation education are required.

Im starting a breastfeeding support group which I'm intending to become a LLL mtg. I need to send off my application and request for membership to LLL to start the accreditation process. Each year you are a LLL Leader accounts towards 500hrs of breastfeeding counseling, you can use only 2yrs. However it should be noted it is highly frowned upon to use LLL as a means to become an IBCLC.

With that said that is not why I'm becoming a leader. I've been wanting to be a leader for about 3yrs now and we have NOOOOO LLL groups in my entire state, we are in dire need of one.

Also there are a few college courses that are *recommended* you take; A&P, sociology, psych, child development, nutrition and medical terminology.

The IBCLC is offered world wide in July.

I would recommend checking into becoming a WIC PC, if you do become one you must work with an IBCLC that has recertified within 5yrs. Most WIC PC coordinators are LC's, if not they should be. You could volunteer as a BF PC at a local hospital, the LC's could groom you if they are willing to. You could also become a LLL Leader.

Below are some links for more information on becoming an LC.
Approved and Accredited Courses

Becoming a Lactation Consultant

Kellymom Links to becoming an IBCLC

Requirements

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#9 of 18 Old 11-11-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Hi Cindy,

Thanks for the information. I'm just wondering -- where did you hear that it was highly frowned upon to get your hours from LLL leadership?

Wendy

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#10 of 18 Old 11-12-2009, 10:43 PM
 
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I had years of experience before becoming an IBCLC, but had to usethe LLL route to get my hours to "count". In my area, only nurses are hired as IBCLC's, so you might want to make sure you know what is going on in your area before you devote the time and energy.

It is not cheap, like anything else. For the IBCLC's who are hospital based, they are paid the same as RN's. And also get the benefits.

I have done private practice work for years and haven't found it to pay off very well. In order to make a decent living, I would have to raise my prices beyond what people can afford. I do occasional visits now, but between the time and the cost of gas, it hasn't been very profitable at all.

I tried renting pumps, but that was not successful at all. If you run the numbers, you will see that for all the time and energy it takes to rent one pump for a month, it's not worth it. And in most areas, you will be competing with hospitals, stores, boutiques, etc.

There is a conference every year in the Philly area for PP LC's, I went one year and it was great, I got alot of valuable information.

There is also an excellent book, a necessity for anyone considering becoming an LC who might work in PP, written by Linda Smith.

Hours: You cannot count your hours teaching classes, they have to be actual hours spent helping moms under supervision. This seems difficult if not impossible for many people. I had written articles, spoke at conferences, and taught classes, yet couldn't count any of those hours. Even as an RN working on the floor, at best I could count maybe 1 hour per day towards the requirement, at the time I worked 10 days/month. So that's why I went with the LLL pathway.

Education: The new education requirements make it difficult for many, I think. If you're not already a nurse or have a bachelors degree in a field, you have to pay for those courses and it adds up. I didn't renew last year in time and have to do the 75 credits now before the deadline, I'm finding just getting those amounts of credits done to be expensive, they run at least 10/credit and since I'm in PP, I have to pay myself. Plus, if you don't do them distance, add in all the time to go to a conference.
Good luck with your path!
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#11 of 18 Old 11-17-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendylady View Post
Hi Cindy,

Thanks for the information. I'm just wondering -- where did you hear that it was highly frowned upon to get your hours from LLL leadership?

Wendy
Yes, I've been waiting for a response on this too. I imagine that it might not be preferred for hospital IBCLCs (who are usually RNs), but what about other settings?

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#12 of 18 Old 11-17-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I am going to become a LLL as well, and when I called to see about becoming a LLL leader I got a huge lecture about how much time was involved and how long it takes to become a leader,etc, etc. Basically, if you want to be an IBCLC for a profession than getting your clinical through the LLL will take you many, many years so it's not necessarily "career effective".

Unfortunately, becoming an IBCLC only is not cost effective and most cannot survive on the income from counseling only. Most IBCLC's are also RNs or possibly working in public health. Most hospitals will not hire you if you aren't also an RN.

I am getting my MA from Union Institute and University. They also offer a BS in Maternal Child Health/Lactation Consulting. My degree is a Masters in Health and Wellness/Lactation Consulting. I will need to accrue 300 clinical hours with an IBCLC to sit for the exam, once I complete the program. I really love that I will be doing research can possibly impact policies and thus make a difference to a broader population of new mothers. I've only in the program for 7 weeks and I am really excited about it.

I am still going to become a LLL for the volunteering part but I'm not expecting to count the hours from them towards my accrued.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#13 of 18 Old 11-18-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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The IBCLE recently changed the requirements as of September 2008 so now you only need two years of being a LLL leader for your hours to count. Something to think about

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#14 of 18 Old 11-18-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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Yes, but also it can take a year to become a LLLL. I may be wrong, but I believe you need to keep really strict records of your counseling hours because they are really strict about what they allow to count for hours. I would be sure to contact the ILCLE to be sure that they award the 500 without restrictions.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#15 of 18 Old 11-30-2009, 04:30 AM
 
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A LLL Leader told me that LLL frowns about people using LLL Leadership as the sole reason to get hours to sit for the IBCLC exam. Mind you this is *one person* that told me this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenAnanas View Post
Yes, I've been waiting for a response on this too. I imagine that it might not be preferred for hospital IBCLCs (who are usually RNs), but what about other settings?

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#16 of 18 Old 02-11-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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Just wanted to update this thread. I called, for each year that I'm a LLL leader, I get 500 hours flat. I don't have to document it.

And yes, it does take a while to finish the application, but it can take more or less than a year depending on how it goes.

Good luck everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodygumdrops View Post
Yes, but also it can take a year to become a LLLL. I may be wrong, but I believe you need to keep really strict records of your counseling hours because they are really strict about what they allow to count for hours. I would be sure to contact the ILCLE to be sure that they award the 500 without restrictions.

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#17 of 18 Old 02-17-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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Bumping up this thread.

I have been a LLL Leader for 4 years and I became a WIC PC last year. I have enough hours through LLL that I can take the exam but I don't have enough education. WIC provides more education than I would ever get on my own (for free) and I get paid to attend. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have wanted to be an IBCLC since I had my oldest, 7 years ago!

One thing about being a WIC Peer Counselor: It may vary depending on the state or even the county you are in, but I am not working directly under an IBCLC in my clinic. We can refer to a different WIC clinic for someone to see an IBCLC, but for every day routine BF difficulties or questions, they see me or the nutritionist, who has also had BF training.

My goal is to take the IBCLC exam next year. WIC also pays for the exam.

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#18 of 18 Old 02-17-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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My soon to be job (waiting on the funding for the position and program which should should arrive in 2 weeks) is supervising the Peer Counselor program. I had to go through all the federal mandates in order to write the application for the money, they were very clear in our state that the program did not have to be supervised by a IBCLC but did have to be a RN or dietician with a breastfeeding credential, CLC, CLEC, or CLE. And if it was a IBCLC, they still have to be a RN or a dietician.


Our funding that we get for the Peer Counselor program can not be used to pursue becoming a IBCLC, even as the supervisor, they can not pay for me to take the exam. It was even stated on the outline of the application I had to end up writing. If I do become a IBCLC, which I am planning on sitting this year, then I can write in a pay increase for me, but will not be compensated for the actual time or money spent on the exam. My whole point is that is it is varies from state to state.

Another thing that varies from state to state and from one WIC office to another is if they will hire non-WIC moms to be Peer Counselors. I am only allowed to hire WIC participants, but being the supervisor, I do not have the same rule.

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