Lactation Specific Clinical Experience

Provide in-person, telephone, or online breastfeeding and lactation care that directly supports breastfeeding families, including lactation assistance to pregnant and breastfeeding clients and lactation education to families and/or professionals. These hours are to be obtained within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the exam.

There are three Pathways to obtaining lactation specific clinical hours:

  • Pathway 1: Recognised Health Professionals and Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellors
    1000 hours obtained in an appropriate supervised setting.
  • Pathway 2: Accredited Academic Programs
    Graduate from an IBLCE verified academic program that includes at least 300 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical experience.
  • Pathway 3: Mentorship
    500 hours obtained under the direct supervision of an IBCLC(s). Candidates MUST have these plans verified (includes an application fee) by IBLCE prior to earning the clinical hours.

NOTE: Actual practice and provision of lactation and breastfeeding care is required. Observation or shadowing of lactation practitioners doesn’t count as lactation specific clinical experience hours.


Ready to learn more about each pathway? Explore the details of Pathway 1, 2, and 3 below!


Still not sure about which pathway is right for you? The “Which IBLCE Pathway is Right for Me” decision tree is a helpful tool.


Click here to return to Step 1: Prepare for IBCLC Certification