IBCLC certification process changes will have catastrophic impacts

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We, the undersigned hold significant concerns over the recent changes to the IBCLC certification process for lactation/breastfeeding counsellors sent to current IBCLCs in June. We understand that some changes are necessary, however we believe that the proposed changes are unnecessarily difficult and unfair and will have catastrophic impacts on breastfeeding support worldwide.

Our concerns include the feasibility of obtaining 1000 active hours as a breastfeeding counsellor, and the fact that this requirement completely disregards the many hours of unpaid, intense, breastfeeding based commitment volunteer organisations require outside of active counselling that health professionals are not required to do. We understand the removal of the flat rate of 500 hours, but we request that as an alternative to the 1000 active hours, the 250 hour flat rate remains, with the added requirement of confirmation from the volunteer organisation that the trainee has been an active volunteer, providing counselling for 4 years.

We also ask you to consider that for many, the IBCLC journey is a 5 year one, and to make the changes you are currently planning with only a 6 month grace period are incredibly unfair and disrespectful of all of the hard work, sacrifices and financial commitments many aspiring IBCLCs have made. As many of your offices were assuring aspiring counsellors that the flat rates still stood until recently, we ask that you recognise and accept pro rata flat rate hours for all current counsellors, up until the closing date for the April 2020 exam (consistent with the date candidates sitting that exam can claim flat rate hours until).

Breastfeeding rates are dire worldwide, and breastfeeding support is often very hard to come by. This career path has never been an easy one for counsellors, but if these changes continue as proposed we believe they will have a catastrophic effect on the rates of passionate aspiring IBCLCs who are not Health Professionals, and who don’t have the access to pathways 1 or 2.

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