Often, one of the first challenges a mother faces is jaundice. Doctors and nurses may indicate that all jaundiced babies must be fed formula, but evidence suggests that this is not case. Infants can absolutely overcome jaundice and grow into healthy babies while consuming only breast milk. Although management of breastfeeding and jaundice varies among the nations, the principles and recommendations outlined in the link below apply universally.

Click here to read through the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s Guidelines for Management of Jaundice in the Breastfeeding Infant Equal to or Greater Than 35 Weeks’ Gestation.

Becoming an IBCLC

All the info you need to figure out how to become an IBCLC can be found on the website for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. The first time I visited the website, I found it a bit confusing, so I’ll lay out some things here to help clear it up.

First, there are several different lactation helper levels; only one is IBCLC. This post is primarily about how to become an IBCLC, but I figured it’s useful to understand the different levels of lactation support you may encounter.
● IBCLC– International Board Certified Lactation Consultant – studied in depth the
science of lactation, put in many hours (sometimes 1000 or more) of in-person work with lactating women, sits for an exam similar to boards for doctors. This is the only internationally standardized lactation credential available.
● CLC – Certified Lactation Counselor – taken a 45-hour course in breastfeeding
management training and passed a final examination. CLCs are required to obtain
continuing education credits every 3 years to maintain their certification.
● CLE – Certified Lactation Educator – taken a 20-hour lactation education course. Their
primary role, as the name suggests, is to educate families interested in learning more about breastfeeding.
● LLLI Leaders – La Leche League International Leaders – accredited by La Leche League International to offer mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding. LLLI Leaders have breastfed their own babies for at least nine months, adhere to LLLI statements of belief, and have demonstrated knowledge of breastfeeding through essays and personal work with her supporting Leader as well as the Leader Accreditation Department. Generally, a Leader works for about a year to earn her accreditation.
● PC – Breastfeeding Peer Counselors – someone who offers mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding, advocates for breastfeeding as the normal, optimal way of feeding an infant, and helps to establish or prolong the time spent breastfeeding. Peer counselors are accredited by various agencies (WIC, for instance) and have varying qualifications. Most have completed around 20 hours of training and taken some sort of examination.


Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty about how to become an IBCLC — again, all this info (and more, in much more detail) can be found at www.iblce.org.

There are three pathways through which you can obtain your certification — I won’t go into the details of each pathway, but I’ll give you some help in deciding which one might be for you. They are outlined in detail here.

Before I talk about the specific pathways, regardless of which pathway you choose, all require the following:
● 14 health sciences courses — if you have an undergraduate degree in some science, you may have a lot of these already covered. Details about the requirements are outlined here.
● At least 90 hours of lactation specific education that was completed within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the IBLCE examination. The lactation specific
education may be obtained through classroom, distance learning, and/or online
education. Keep in mind that many courses are listed as 50 min, and not a true hour.
You need 90 full hours (60 min each).
● In-person lactation specific clinical experience — the extent and type of this experience changes with the different pathways.

Now, here are the three pathways with a small level of detail to help you decide which one fits your situation best. Again, all are outlined in detail here.
● Pathway 1 — this pathway is for people who already have a degree in one of the
recognized health professions. These professions include: dentist, dietician, midwife, nurse, occupational therapist, pharmacist, physical therapist or physiotherapist, physician or medical doctor, speech pathologist or therapist.
You can also choose this pathway if you work/volunteer as one of the recognized
mother support counselors. The difference between this pathway and pathway 3 is that you do your 1000 hours of lactation specific clinical hours while working/volunteering in one of the above capacities (more on pathway 3 below).
● Pathway 2 — this pathway requires that you graduate from an academic program in
human lactation and breastfeeding which IBLCE approves. Currently, there are 5 of
these programs in the USA.
● Pathway 3 — this pathway requires you to make a plan that is verified and approved by IBCLE. I like to think of this pathway as the one for the lay person. You do your lactation specific clinical hours under the supervision of an IBCLC mentor. Before you begin, you make a plan with your mentor for the successful completion of your certification and IBCLE approves that plan.

I think that about covers it! If you have more questions about this process, please feel free to ask them in the comments below. We have a few members/admins who are in the middle of this process, and we have a couple IBCLCs in the Facebook group as well.


Probiotics are living microorganisms. They improve digestive health and boost immune health. You might consider introducing probiotics if you or baby have had a round of antibiotics (antibiotics kill all good and bad bacteria in the body, which opens the door for thrush!), when solids are introduced, if baby is struggling with gas/colic, during cold/flu season, or anytime, simply to maintain good gut health.

It can be beneficial for all mommas and babies to take probiotics for immune and digestive health benefits! Probiotics are generally considered safe during breastfeeding and pregnancy. Very little probiotics are transferred through breastmilk, so if it is medically indicated, babies should have their own probiotics. As always, consult a healthcare provider before introducing any supplement to your or your baby’s diet.

Here are some of our favorite brands:

  • Klaire Labs Infant powder, Children’s chewable, or Women’s capsule *Allergen Free*
  • Udo’s Choice Infant or Adult (contains milk and soy)
  • Renew Life Ultimate Flora Baby or Women’s (contains milk and soy)
  • Garden of Life Kids or Women’s (dairy and gluten free)

These are all powders that need to be kept cold. You can put a dab on your nipple before nursing, on a pacifier or your finger, or you can mix with breastmilk and give via a syringe or in a sippy cup or bottles.

There are some shelf-stable brands like Culturelle which can help but they are not nearly as effective as the kind that needs to be kept cold. You can find many of these at Whole Foods, any natural food store, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, thenaturalonline.com, or Amazon. Sometimes CVS and other pharmacies have them, just ask the Pharmacist.

Medication Resources: What is BF Friendly?

Are you trying to find out if your medicine is breastfeeding-friendly?
Were you told you need to “Pump and Dump?”
Don’t worry! The experts are ready to weigh in. Use these resources to make sure your medications are compatible with breastfeeding.
Search Lactmed or call Infant Risk to determine if your medication is breastfeeding-friendly:
LactMed: Via Phone App or website.
Infant Risk: +1 806-352-2519 (hotline open during central standard time business hours)
Infant Risk is the leader in medication safety when it comes to breastfeeding. They have a website and a number you can call for free info on medications and their safety.
App for Android and iPhone website.
All-inclusive list of breastfeeding/medication safety resources here.
Motherisk: (phone 416-813-6780) at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Call or visit their website for evidence-based information about the safety or risk of drugs, chemicals and disease during pregnancy and lactation.
Drugline (phone 0844 412 4665) at The Breastfeeding Network, Paisley, Scotland. Call the Drugline for information on taking prescription drugs while breastfeeding, or visit their website for handouts on drugs and breastfeeding.
Approved Cold and Allergy Meds:
Holistic/Homeopathic Remedies for Cold/Flu Season:
oscillococcinum, vitamin c (Emergen-C, powdered vit c, chewables), vit d3, elderberry syrup, local raw honey with lemon, eucalyptus oil, thieves oil and echinacea.
Phone Apps: