The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) was founded in March 1985 using a $40,000 loan from La Leche League International as start-up funding. IBLCE’s founding was in response to the need for standards in the emerging profession of lactation consulting. This new profession had arisen during the 1970’s and 80’s in response to the need and request from mothers for specialized breastfeeding care. During this same time period, there was an increasing body of published information about the benefits of breastfeeding and mother support organisations, such as La Leche League International and the Nursing Mothers Association of Australia (now the Australian Breastfeeding Association), had developed and were utilizing an extensive repertoire of breastfeeding management skills.

These factors of consumer demand, scientific evidence and practical clinical skills converged to create an ideal climate for the new profession and for standards that demonstrate the practitioner’s knowledge and skill to practice in the field of lactation consulting. At about the same time, the National Commission for Health Certifying Agencies (NCHCA) was launched with a grant given by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. NCHCA was founded with the goal of establishing self-regulation in the health care industry and its mission was to establish stringent guidelines for health certifying organizations and accredit those certification programs that met these guidelines. In 1994, NCHCA changed its named and became the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

IBLCE utilized the NCCA accreditation standards from its inception and is one of only a few certifying organisations whose program was accredited by NCCA on its first application in the late 1980’s. IBLCE has been continuously accredited by NCCA since that time and is a non-profit 501(c)(6) certification board governed by a Board of Directors and incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA.

Today, the IBLCE Board comprises professionals from all over the world, representing nearly 36,000 IBCLCs in 131 countries.