Advanced Lactation Consultant (ALCs) are individuals who have successfully completed the Healthy Children Project’s Advanced Issues in Lactation Practice Certification Program and are certified by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP).
ALCs have successfully completed a 45-hour training and have successfully passed a criterion-referenced examination, and demonstrated the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating and breastfeeding women including the ability to:
- Construct and maintain conditions that predispose mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience through counseling, education and support.
- Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions predisposing mothers and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience.
- Assess for, monitor and evaluate physical conditions that predispose mothers and babies to a complex breastfeeding experience.
- Monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural and social conditions that predispose mothers and babies to complex breastfeeding experiences.
- Identify and advocate for aspects of breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes.
- Assess breastfeeding using a multi-faceted approach.
- Use counseling skills and techniques that are supportive to breastfeeding mothers and babies.
- Identify and advocate for public health strategies that serve to protect breastfeeding.
- Coordinate care consistent with standards of professional ethics and behavior.
The purpose of the ALC certification is to protect the public by identifying individuals who have advanced competencies in lactation management skills and knowledge.
This scope of practice addresses the foundation activities that ALCs have the knowledge and skill to accomplish. Many individuals who hold the ALC credential have other licensure and education, including nurses, peer counselors, doulas, dietitians, nutritionists, physicians, midwives, occupational and speech therapy, mental health counselors, etc. Because of the diverse background and training of ALCs, this listing does not encompass activities that many ALCs may conduct under the umbrella of other licensure, training, or knowledge.
Thus, the ALC has demonstrated readiness to:
- Promote breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding and care.
- Counsel and educate pregnant women and mothers regarding breastfeeding.
- Conduct comprehensive assessment of mother and child related to breastfeeding.
- Develop a care plan specific to the needs identified through assessment and counseling.
- Assess the needs of women and babies who are at risk of, or currently experiencing lactation difficulties, providing care and triaging referral to other care providers as needed.