First, I should let you know that I have lovingly lifted some of this reply from another wise support person - she just said it so well - however, most of it is all mine.
I think that at the root of this conversation is the lack of standardization with regard to lactation credentials *other than* IBCLC.
I am both IBCLC and CLC (and Birth and Postpartum doula) and my personal experience regarding acquiring the CLC credential included a 5-day course, and an exam on the fifth day. It was, indeed, an in-depth and respected 5-day course, but 5-days, nonetheless, and certainly did not include exposure to much outside the realm of normal.
I know many CLCs, CLEs, LEs, CBCs (and MDs and RNs) and other credentialed and non-certified women who possess an extremely large body of knowledge in the field of lactation. Yet, I have learned (and continue to realize) that you have no idea what you don't know until your horizons are broadened and you see how much you didn't know before.
Families should know that IBCLCs are the only "across the board" standard of care. With an IBCLC you KNOW that is a professional who is required to test and pursue continuing education credit in order to maintain their credential. You KNOW that is a professional who has accumulated thousands of contact and education hours BEFORE becoming certified. Etc., etc. There is nothing offensive about that, and within the realm of alphabet soup that exists within the lactation realm, the IBCLC *is* the only standard.
Imagine us as doulas posting something about how nobody other than a doula can be a birth support person? That lovely nurses or family members who are compassionate and experienced can't and shouldn't help the laboring woman and if they meddle where they aren't "certified" than she's bound to suffer....
Megan, I re-read the article and nowhere was this stated. Of course other individuals can support a laboring woman. Nurses or other compassionate caregivers are capable or even a preferred source of support for an individual, but that shouldn't mean that doulas do not advocate for themselves, request fair compensation, strive to get the best education and training available, pursue mentoring opportunities, and evolve in the profession to become better at what we do.
I know when someone just needs advice and support and when someone needs additional resources outside my knowledge.
That is great that you do! But how can we be sure that every other lactation specialist does? Many years of experience has exposed me to many train wrecks in breastfeeding. Sometimes these train wrecks have come from other breastfeeding support people over-extending and misunderstanding their limitations. When in doubt: REFER. I am an IBCLC and I REFER to other more qualified IBCLCs in certain cases. When I don't know, I say "I don't know". You may do that, Megan, but we both know that not everybody does.
To say that there should be nobody but an IBCLC meddling in the affairs of the breast is crazy.
Again, this was not stated, or implied, in the article.
I have two great IBCLC's that I refer to on a regular basis, however there are times they miss things I notice and times I miss things they notice.
Yes! And this is how it should be. It would be lovely if we could *finally* come together as professionals to recognize the disparity lies mainly in the lack of standardization of any credential other than IBCLC. All of us come from different backgrounds and we each are strong and weak in certain areas.
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