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Scope of Practice for the 
Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®)

The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification identifies a professional in lactation counseling who has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to provide breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding/lactation.

CLCs are individuals who have successfully completed a minimum of 52 hours of training based upon the footprint of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course; have passed a criterion-referenced examination administered by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP); and have demonstrated the clinical competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women, including the:

  • Ability to recognize one’s own and others’ attitudes, values, and expectations about infant feeding and healthy lifestyles.

  • Ability to apply the concept of an individualized approach to counseling and management of breastfeeding, from preconception through weaning.

  • Ability to use appropriate, effective, and client-centered communication skills.

  • Ability to identify opportunities to offer information/education within the counseling encounter to women, the whole family constellation, and the community.

  • Ability to assess physical and psychosocial aspects of the breastfeeding dyad.

  • Ability to utilize reliable tools to assess affective/ineffective breastfeeding and milk transfer.

  • Ability to incorporate evidence based approaches to practice and make appropriate referrals operating on the continuum of the health care team.

  • Knowledge of programs, policies and legislation on state, national, and international levels that promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

ALPP develops and administers the CLC examination to assess the knowledge and skills that underlie competent practice in lactation counseling. The development, administration, and scoring of the CLC exam, after participants have met the skills competency requirements, promotes competency in lactation management, skills, and knowledge and thereby fulfills the mission of ALPP.

The purpose of the CLC certification is to protect the public by identifying individuals who are competent in lactation management skills and knowledge.

Many individuals who hold the CLC credential have other licenses and education, including nurses, peer counselors, doulas, dietitians, nutritionists, home visitors, physicians, midwives, occupational and speech therapy, mental health counselors, etc. Because of the diverse background and training of CLCs, this listing does not encompass activities that many CLCs may conduct under the umbrella of other licensure, training, or knowledge.

Click to read CLC Scope of Practice

IMPORTANT NOTE:Any lactation professional should be able to show you proof of their credentials when requested. 

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant / Lactation Consultant (IBCLC/LC) Scope of Practice

Click to read IBCLC Scope of Practice

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