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Human Lactation Consultation Program Meets a Growing National Demand

May 28, 2015

The Nutrition Sciences Human Lactation Consultant Program positions Drexel University on the cutting edge of a new, yet steadily increasing, demand in healthcare. The need for well-prepared lactation professionals is growing under a national spotlight, and by completing a series of three, Drexel Students have the opportunity to become Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). 

With a strong global emphasis on increasing breastfeeding to promote health at the population level, prevent acute and chronic illness and decrease society health care costs, university-level programmatic offerings to address this need are few and far between. According to the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, there are only four university-based lactation consultant programs in the nation.

“In my experience, most women transitioning to mother hood want to make sure that they are doing everything they can to do what’s best for their baby,” says Joan Rosen Bloch, PhD, tenured associate professor in the Department of Doctor of Nursing Practice. Bloch discovered that many undergraduate nursing students do not get exposure to breastfeeding mothers in their clinical rotations, so they lacked the learning experiences necessary to support a breastfeeding mother. “It’s up to us to make sure we educate the workforce as much as we can to make sure these mothers can be successful in all their mothering tasks. The first and most important one is feeding your baby.”

This rationale became the springboard for the Human Lactation Consultant Program, which provides a foundation in the physiology of lactation, public policy of breastfeeding and common issues encountered for the breastfeeding mom and baby. “Every nurse should know the basics of breastfeeding, however, sometimes there are challenges. That’s where the lactation consultant comes in,” says Bloch.

This year, Drexel saw its first students complete all three courses in the Lactation Consultant Program – a proud milestone marking the beginning of a workforce well-equipped to empower new mothers.