Demand Equal Access to Lactation Care: License IBCLCs in Massachusetts
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Every day in Massachusetts, on average, 139 mothers give up on breastfeeding and are unable to meet their own breastfeeding goals – often due to the inability to access the clinical care of an IBCLC Lactation Consultant. Please sign this petition in support of Massachusetts House Bill H1151 - An act regulating the practice and licensure of lactation consultants.
While there are many qualified lactation consultants in our state that hold the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential, Massachusetts does not require licensure for these practitioners. Because IBCLCs are not licensed, it can be difficult for mothers to have access to quality care that is reimbursable by insurers. So while some mothers can afford to pay out of pocket, there are many mothers who cannot access this lactation care, particularly mothers who are insured by Medicaid plans such as MassHealth.
In addition, there is no definition as to who can call themselves a "lactation consultant" in MA. The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is considered the national standard for professional clinical lactation care. Those who hold this certification have fulfilled extensive requirements; including lactation specific education, experience assisting breastfeeding families, passing of a rigorous examination and mandatory continuing education. There are a number of other lactation care providers, all of whom provide valuable services but some with as little as an online class. Unfortunately, a new mother may not know the difference. Licensure of IBCLCs will protect the public interest by assuring a consistent standard of care, and it will allow more equitable access to this much needed professional service.
IBCLC licensure will in no way inhibit the ability of others to provide valuable peer support services, classes, support groups and breastfeeding counseling, or to seek licensure for their own scope of practice.
Please sign this petition in support of MA House Bill 1151 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1151 and share your experience with access to IBCLC care in the comments below.
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