Lactation Consultant as an emerging career in India and abroad

Careers in healthcare have been booming and umpteen opportunities are available with pioneering allied medical sciences. One among them has been the lactation consultant as an emerging career in India and abroad as well. This write-up illustrates various specialized courses to become a certified consultant for lactating mothers and the scope of the breastfeeding specialist profession in India and abroad.

In a country like India, awareness of proper breastfeeding among first-time/lactating mothers has not been the best to the extent that they undergo postpartum challenges. Thus, assistance is required to train them on how to breastfeed newborn babies the right way. Here comes the need for lactation consultant service. Recently, there have been excellent career prospects in this field. An extensive countrywide program, known as MAA (Mother's Absolute Affection) has been implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to promote breastfeeding and henceforth necessitating consultation services. It leads to growth in the certified lactation consultancy health facilities in India.

Role of Lactation Consultant

The lactation consultants play the role of guiding the postpartum/to-be moms who are in the journey of pregnancy on breastfeeding practices effectively. They need to train them on holding the infants at the time of feeding, teaching working moms about using breast pumps, checking weight, and sharing the nutrition facts of breast milk for the babies. Since this has been a profession involving counselling mothers to care for newborn babies, the aspirants are required to train themselves as eminent breastfeeding specialists. They have a choice to be an independent consultant with an extensive work experience in OBG/Pediatric hospitals, health care, and lactation clinics. This specialist is required to impart knowledge on breast milk supply, and nipple-sucking issues in preterm/underweight infants.

To become a certified breastfeeding specialist, the aspirant may be from a high school stream of science, diploma, degree holder, or any healthcare professional such as registered nurses, doctors, etc.
There have been numerous courses offered for this emerging career in India and they are all certified programs to be a qualified LC in India as well as abroad. Following are the registered programs which can be completed almost in a year or two or earlier if you can.

In India, an organization, namely the Association of Lactation Professionals India offers various certified programs. These LPs have been taking care of not only postpartum mothers, and new moms, but the entire family at the time of lactation to teach dos and don'ts while breastfeeding.

Certified Lactation Professional (CLP) or Breastfeeding Specialist

This certification includes ACLP, an advanced course of attending 97 hours, CLP Core I of 52 hours, CLP Core II of 45 hours, and CLSP (Certified Lactation Support Professionals) of 25 hours. These courses have been conducted online and the aspirants are required to complete the final exam to be certified. Every five years they need to keep up certification eligibility by continuing to work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, or lactation support centres in India. Their work involves counselling the parents and even grandparents, to be aware of breastmilk supply issues, latching problems of newborn babies, etc. They must also help with medically complicated issues of the babies such as preterm and low birth weight. Through this CLP or CBS (certified breastfeeding specialist) certification, they can take their IBCLC course and exam to become an International CLP.

Certified Lactation Counsellor (CLC)

The Certified lactation counsellor has been required to take the course duration of 45-90 hours to complete the course to get certified in the management of breastfeeding. She is otherwise known as a lactation care counsellor and lactation education counsellor. The CLC must be experienced to obtain the credits maintaining their certification for three years once with the association or any accredited organization. The lactation counsellor is entitled to help in situations suggestive of counselling mothers, latching issues as of the lactation consultant.

Certified Lactation Educator

Lactation educator's primary duty is to educate the mothers/parents about the importance of breastfeeding. Lactation educators should support lactating moms to instill confidence while breastfeeding. As a childbirth educator or a doula LE provides information based on evidence of how breastfeeding is essential in the growth of the child and the mother's well-being too. The LE is to take up a 20-hour course duration to be certified. This childbirth educator can refer them to any local resources of a lactation consultant or counsellor in any emergency if needed but not to provide any diagnosis or treatment.

Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling (IYCFC)

The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India is a national network of organizations, NGOs, and the public interested in promoting breastfeeding, thus a supporting system in the health of moms and infant in India. This BPNI conducts an integrated certificate course on breastfeeding, complementary feeding, infant feeding, and HIV counselling in India and the certified participant is known as Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling Specialist. Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, or other healthcare professionals who wish to be dedicated in this field are eligible for this IYCF counselling program.

La Leche League Leader (LLLL)

Accredited by the NGO known as La Leche League International, these leaders can give training in lactation, helping the mothers to have a healthy start in the life of their newborn babies. They need to have lactated their own babies at least for nine months and impart the knowledge of breastfeeding to the new moms. They must work for a year to get the accreditation.

Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor (PC)

A peer-support person or counsellor, as indicated by the name, assists mothers to promote breastfeeding with hands-on experience. The PC should write a qualifying exam if she completes training for 20 hours through accredited agencies. They are equally qualified as of the LLL leader and work in maternity clinics, hospitals, etc.

Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

This IBCLC program is conducted by the organization IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners) globally. The IBLCE is an autonomous body organizing certified courses at different levels in lactation consultation. This certification is the topmost ranking in the lactation field.
There are three kinds of proficiency-based pathways to pursue the IBCLC certification program.
  1. Those who are recognized health professionals, breastfeeding support counsellors.
  2. Those who have completed accredited lactation academic programs.
  3. Those who have lactation clinical experience or mentorship with an IBCLC are eligible to take over the examination.

Here are some useful sites-
The website guides the LC aspirants on getting through this certification.
Lactation education resources (LER) has been a global platform offering the above courses conducting online classes, webinars, conferences, and so on. The aspirant may visit the website
Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), an NGO dedicated to lactation training and certification, conducts courses and they are headquartered in Mumbai in India. Their website is
In Australia, LC courses are through the platform namely Health-e-Learning detailing information in this regard.


To be more precise, lactation consultant as an emerging career in India has a tremendous scope as a health science program inevitably at the global level. If your choice is to be a passionate breastfeeding consultant, you get yourself to be certified and serve as an independent LC online too other than providing support in hospitals or clinics.


Author: Umesh16 Feb 2023 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

There was a time when women fed their children with their breast milk and that was the only option till the child grows up and starts taking cow milk also. With modernization and high quality baby food being made available in the market, another option emerged in the world and credit goes to the excessive marketing and advertisement of these milk powders that people started feeding it to their babies. Many women got relief of a kind because they were not tied to their babies for periodic breast feeding. That was a great help to the working women who could not spare so much time for breast feeding.
The only problem in this arrangement is that many experts opine that mother's milk is better for the newborns and hence it becomes imperative to teach and explain it to the mothers. So, this is the main job of a lactation consultant to impress upon the need of breastfeeding and to minimize the use of artificial milk.

Author: Bhavani17 Feb 2023 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

Breastfeeding has numerous benefits both for infants and mothers. The fluid that has been produced after birth is referred to as liquid gold by doctors since it is so valuable providing ideal nutrition and protecting infants from long-term/short-term diseases, infections, allergies, etc. Breastfed babies get complete nourishment for overall growth making the immune system strong. The initial six-month of breastfeeding is essential, the breast milk is mandatory, and after six months, babies do require a little amount of solid, blended or mashed food along with breast milk. Doctors support breastfeeding at least for one year and even the second year too if needed. Breastfeeding also helps mothers to have low risks of ovarian/breast cancers and other life-threatening diseases. During the pandemic, like COVID, breastfeeding mothers and babies did have a low risk of this viral threat. Nowadays with the technology development, working moms can use breast pumps to collect and store breast milk and maintain the appropriate milk supply required for the infants.

Inspired by my sister's daughter-in-law who is now a lactation consultant, I posted this article under her guidance.

Author: Umesh06 Mar 2023 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

Yes, there are many benefits of breast feeding and renowned world medical agencies recommend that but there are certain considerations that one has to ponder and keep in mind about this matter.
In some cases the mother might feel discomfort in breast feeding and it might continue for some time. Other thing is mother does not know the amount of milk the baby had consumed and it is only a guesswork. Preserving the breast milk and again giving it to the baby is not only a cumbersome process but can affect the nutritional value of the milk. Another aspect which is most important is that if the mother is under some medication or addictions then the breast feeding is to be seriously reviewed and alternative arrangements are to be made.

Guest Author: Dr Darshana11 Jul 2023

I have completed my BHMS and am planning to do the lactation consultant course. Kindly guide me accordingly.

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