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"Best" IBCLC training?

(140 Posts)
organiccarrotcake Sun 09-Jan-11 22:41:00

I'm considering ABM and NCT but has anyone got any advice or experience at all?


TheButterflyEffect Sun 09-Jan-11 23:37:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiktok Mon 10-Jan-11 00:05:35

organic - NCT and ABM don't train anyone to be an IBCLC. I don't know of any UK organisations which do. Most people in the UK who are an IBCLC have i) trained abroad ii) or are already trained as an HCP or a bfc and then have studied independently for the exam

organiccarrotcake Mon 10-Jan-11 07:36:14

Thanks for your replies butterfly and tiktok.

OK, I'm obviously getting my terminology wrong

So, what I am talking about is BFC training but I had thought from the reading I've been doing about it that the full training was IBCLC.

So where I am misunderstanding? Is there a specific BFC qualification that is different to IBCLC?

And to re-word the question, therefore, what's the best organisation to train with to be a BFC?

I'm not a HCP.

TheButterflyEffect Mon 10-Jan-11 12:48:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiktok Mon 10-Jan-11 14:27:56

IBCLC - int. board of certified lactation consultants - are very different from breastfeeding counsellors. There is no counselling in the training and you are not assessed on counselling skills. A few bfcs are also lactation consultants.

The thing I like about breastfeeding counselling training and assessment - as well as what Butterfly says - is that you are part of a wider organisation that ensures quality control, supervision and annual requirements for in service training and development so you keep up to date.

There is very little of this with the IBCLC though they have to work to a code of practice. They have to resit the exam after (I think) 10 years - there is no ongoing obligation to develop.

Hope you find the course you want

EauRouge Mon 10-Jan-11 15:28:28

I'm doing the LLL training. I like it because it's so flexible, it's all done in your own time and they are very accommodating to family commitments. There are no classes to attend, I think you can do the whole thing via email or phone if you want.

When you are an accredited leader your main responsibilities are running a monthly meeting, offering support and information (not advice!) via phone, email or in person and staying up to date with BF information (there are conferences and things you can go to if you like).

IBCLC stuff is more clinical I think, with LLL you have to be very careful NOT to give any medical advice or opinions. You can suggest a few different solutions to a problem and help the mother find which is best for her and her baby and help to identify if there is a need to see a HCP.

There's more info here if it sounds like your kind of thing.

organiccarrotcake Mon 10-Jan-11 20:12:49

I see...

So, what would people take the IBCLC for then? I'd thought that this was the official certification for a BFC but it sounds quite different.

Would we summarise as:

- ABM good for distance learning when far from a tutor or not able to get to a tutor?
- LLL good for flexible distance learning and perhaps more for the attachment parenting leaning person?
- NCT good if you want tutored learning and slightly more mainstream (never expected to say that about NCT!!)
- BFN - not sure!

To answer butterfly's questions:

"What are you looking to do with the training?"

Well. Although I am interested in one to one support I am more interested in campaigning. My main interests are milk banking, Baby Milk Action's - erm - action, and improving the provision of maternity and PN BFing support. I feel that having some proper knowledge gives me a good foundation for this.

"How long do you want to train for?"

Well I work part time, and have two children and do loads of volunteering already so could only spare about 2 hours a week so I don't know how this would work out.

"Can you afford to pay for your course?"

"When you qualify, will you be looking to be paid for your time?"

It would be nice to think that I could bring in some income but probably from private work. I don't need the money.

"Do you want to work only with breastfeeding women, or meet pregnant women and give them breastfeeding information?"

Both really. I would love to teach younger girls at school too! Meaning catching them well in advance on the bigger picture project.

"Would you like do to a shorter course first to give you an idea of whether you're keen to take it further?"

I'm doing peer support training now. Are there any others?

"Would you like your qualification to be university accreditted? (I don't think that's the right spelling)."

I would require that the training was recognised in such a way as it would have real meaning but only in the context of what I'd be doing. I wouldn't need it to tick the "I have a degree" (or whatever) box.

"Are you happy to be tied to the organisation for a number of years, or would you prefer to pay more and be independant from when you qualify?"

I would prefer to be independent.

Thank you all . I will read the links but any other thoughts much appreciated

gaelicsheep Mon 10-Jan-11 23:58:04

An interesting thread. Can I add a query in response to one of the last points?

I thought that in all cases you are tied to the particular organisation for 2 or 3 years. What I'm not clear on is that the NCT's new training information implies that if you train with one of the other organisations you are tied to them forever more. That can't be right can it? You can train with the ABM, BfN, whatever, serve your time and then work independently if that's what you want? And can you transfer organisations without starting again if you find the one you trained with isn't working for you?

TheButterflyEffect Tue 11-Jan-11 09:22:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RubyBuckleberry Tue 11-Jan-11 11:08:59

The IBCLC exam is to become a lactation consultant in private practice, independent of any organisation. It is internationally recognised. I think some LCs work for hospitals/clinics/PCTs also. This website has lots of info:

The requirements are changing to become more stringent in 2012 although they are not sorted as yet so it is a watch this space thing...

these are the 2011 requirements.

The IBCLE will currently award 500 hours per year of clinical practice to peer counsellors working in a voluntary position. At the moment you have to amass 1000. This MIGHT be changing to 2000 but again, watch this space apparently...

RubyBuckleberry Tue 11-Jan-11 11:09:37

IBLCE sorry!

crikeybadger Tue 11-Jan-11 11:14:11

Yes, I'm watching this thread too as thinking about going down the bfc route at some point.

Hi there Gaelicsheep! I'm only guessing here, but I would say that as the NCT course gives you a uni diploma then they might not accept trained bfc's from other organisations (who don't hold the diploma).

tiktok Tue 11-Jan-11 11:28:41

If someone was a trained bfc from another organisation then I am pretty confident NCT would look at the situation individually and negotiate something that meant not all the training would have to be done.

However, this does not apply to peer supporters who have to start at square one, as do all HCPs.

I don't think there is a living to be made from being a 'freelance' breastfeeding person in private practice, outside London, to be honest.

Going into schools used to be done more, but I think it's fair to say there are very few opportunities for this these days.

I'd be careful to consider the campaigning aspect as well. LLL does not permit campaigning of any sort (unless things have changed recently). NCT breastfeeding counsellors do campaign, but you are trained to keep this separate from counselling, or at least to understand where campaigning might not be appropriate or where it might challenge your ability to counsel.

All this sounds negative and it's not meant to be Training needs to be entered into with your eyes wide open, that's all!

organiccarrotcake Tue 11-Jan-11 20:04:58

Thanks everyone. ruby I'll take a look at those links

Tiktok Interesting about the LLL but I don't know that I understand. What does it say you can't do? Be a member of BMA? Push for a milk bank? Organise bfing awareness week events? I can't see any of those things being a problem? Meaning, I can't see why this would be something the LLL would want to stop?

Is it because to be a BFC for an individual woman you need to leave your own agenda at the door? If so, it seems to me that as part of the training is to separate this, organisations may be losing enthusiastic and hard working individuals who can wear different hats...

Do you know why it's now less done to go into schools?

And regarding eyes open, absolutely, throw it all at me. I really need to make sure I'm doing the right thing especially if I pay for it myself!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 11-Jan-11 21:03:13

Tiktok - TheButterfly, I've been reading up on NCT training again but am still confused.

On one link to a PDF it states that the NCT pay your training fees and you can help by working with the branch to try to obtain grants. However on another part of the website I get the impression that help with fees is only available in some areas.

Do you know which it is?

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 11-Jan-11 21:03:51

Sorry for the hijack organic

organiccarrotcake Tue 11-Jan-11 21:25:30

julie hijack away, it's all interesting

gaelicsheep Tue 11-Jan-11 21:25:47

I always sense on these threads that the NCT is considered to be best - it is always an undertone that's implied but left unsaid. Is this really the case, or is it because they provide a diploma, are a better known organisation and charge 440 times as much as the ABM (if you pay yourself)?

Sorry Tiktok and Butterfly - no offence intended at all. smile But I am faced with the same choice as organiccarrotcake, and I am feeling that the commitment required by the NCT to NCT fundraising in return for any grant might be too much for me, being a full time working mum. But on the other hand I keep thinking is there a reason why one course leads to a diploma and the other doesn't. Like OCC I have no wish for a university qualification - I already have qualifications to postgrad level - but I want to be well qualified to give the advice I would be giving.

organiccarrotcake Tue 11-Jan-11 21:27:27


I already do loads for the NCT mind!

organiccarrotcake Tue 11-Jan-11 21:29:53

What's the difference between an BFC and a LC?

<scratches head>

gaelicsheep Tue 11-Jan-11 21:32:40

My impression is that a lactation consultant is essentially a medical rather than a counselling role. But I've never come across one so I don't know exactly what they do.

gaelicsheep Tue 11-Jan-11 21:35:56

From the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain website: "A lactation consultant is a health care professional whose scope of practice is focused upon providing education and management to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems and to encourage a social environment that effectively supports the breastfeeding mother/infant dyad" ILCA 1993.

organiccarrotcake Tue 11-Jan-11 21:40:10

So what would be the difference in training and where would one get LC training from?


RubyBuckleberry Tue 11-Jan-11 21:41:25

A LC has done lots of clinical practice face to face, studied lots about lactation, and done an exam which is internationally recognised. They have to recertify every 5 years and retake the exam every ten to remain an IBCLC. (International Board Certifed Lactation Consultant.) They are experts in human lactation between the ages of 0 and 5 (as in some countries women feed their children for longer and the qualification is international.) here It was all started by ABM Australia and LLL America.

new requirements for 2012 here from the USA website. I am assuming it is the same.

As for the difference, not much really. They both help mums and babies. Perhaps a LC is more qualified to deal with highly problematic breastfeeding - TikTok? Maybe neither is more qualified.

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