Become a Lactation Educator

Education for professionals – or the lack of it – has been and continues to be a barrier to breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding, perhaps more than other topics in health, is strongly affected by the personal attitudes, beliefs, and values of the healthcare provider.  Lack of support or encouragement from physicians, nurses, hospital staff, or other health professional may be related to the difficulties professionals have with setting aside their own attitudes, beliefs, and values.

Despite efforts to improve breastfeeding management, health care professionals, including nurses, continue to give poor advice on this matter.  Poor advice has taken different forms.  Sometimes it actually has been no advice.  When the person being asked for advice has no answer for a problem, he or she typically recommends switching to artificial feeding.  Such poor advice may be related to the professional’s attitude or the healthcare provider’s inadequate education.

Several studies have shown that formal education about breastfeeding has been sadly lacking in nursing school curricula.  The majority of nurses have obtained most of their information about breastfeeding through clinical experience. Not only is it optimal, but it is possible to successfully integrate lactation management into our healthcare curriculum.  Those who have done so have found it tremendously rewarding.

Nurses Educational Opportunities supports The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to educated nurses in the following:

©      Social and Cultural Factors influencing Breastfeeding

©      Psychological Factors influencing Breastfeeding

©      Biological Factors influencing Breastfeeding

©      Techniques and management of Breastfeeding

©      Counseling common problems related to lactation

©      Nutritional values of breast milk


The United States has not yet met the goal to have 75% of women choose breastfeeding, with continued breastfeeding, until 6 months of age.  The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.

New Grads seeking a position in the Maternal Child Cluster would enhance their resume by attaining a Lactation Educator (C) certification.  I am currently working on a program to incorporate such certification in our New Grad program.  I have 4 staff members who are certified in Lactation Education and have asked them to assist in this project.  I am hoping to accomplish this project this year.

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