USLCA response  to the recent Breastfeeding Medicine article, Management of Cannabis Use in Breastfeeding Women: The Untapped Potential of Certified Lactation Consultants

Dear Colleagues,

The Board of Directors of the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) read with great interest your publication, “Management of Cannabis Use in Breastfeeding Women: The Untapped Potential of Certified Lactation Consultants.” We found the article to be of great interest to those working with pregnant and lactating families, including the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC®).

We were pleased to see the IBCLC included in this resource. However, we are concerned that throughout your article, the term “IBCLC” is shortened to “CLC©.”  The term “CLC” is reserved for use by certificants of a different certification program.  The terms “IBCLC” and “CLC” do not represent the same certification process, and the use of the incorrect term may lead to significant misunderstanding in the medical community and the general public.  As the professional association for lactation care providers in the United States, we would like to respectfully request that the article, in all  forms, be edited to elucidate that it is the IBCLC the authors intend to be referenced and referred to for this clinical lactation situation.

The Clinical Competencies for the IBCLC clearly indicate expertise in all areas of human lactation.  The published Scope of Practice goes even further to specify that IBCLCs have a duty to provide evidence-based information regarding the use of drugs during breastfeeding. Physicians and allied health care providers can be confident that when referring parents to an IBCLC, an optimal level of care will be delivered by a provider with specialized training, experience, and expertise in the clinical management of lactation. While lactation counselors (such as CLCs), educators, and other lactation care providers are necessary and helpful, their more abbreviated preparation requires that they should no more be substituted for the expertise of the IBCLC than a nursing assistant or nurse’s aide should be substituted for a registered nurse. Lactation support comes in many forms, and while all are valuable, their preparation and certification processes are not all equivalent.

You are most welcome to refer providers and families to the “Find an IBCLC” resource on our website at USLCA shares your goal of providing optimal lactation support to all families and hopes to partner with you in your efforts to promote, protect and support health and wellness for all. We would be happy to engage in a dialog with you or perhaps publish a joint statement regarding the landscape and importance of lactation support to further elucidate how to obtain the right level of care for each parent/baby dyad. Please feel free to contact us at 202-738-1125 or

Clinical Competencies for the Practice of International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs)-

Scope of Practice for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) Certificants-

Who’s Who? An At-A-Glance Look at Lactation Support in the United States-


Christine Staricka, BS, IBCLC, RLC, CCE

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