Degree Finder - Find your online college in 3 easy steps:

Lactation Consultant

Breast milk is nutritious and nourishing enough to act as a primary food source for up to the first six months of an infant’s life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, many new mothers or mothers with health complications are unable to breastfeed their infants without professional aid. Lactation consultant nurses help determine whether the mother and child are able to successfully breastfeed by conducting a thorough breast and general health examination and assessing the milk transfer during breastfeeding. They also educate the mother on general feeding techniques and answer any questions posed about the subject.

Nurses specializing in lactation consultation can either be licensed practical (LPN) or registered nurses (RN). LPNs must complete a nurse training program and pass the NCLEX-PN examination. RNs must complete either a diploma program from a nursing school, an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN examination. No matter what type of nursing program is completed, all aspiring lactation consultants must take courses in lactation management, child development and nutrition. Lactation consultant nurses then must seek certification from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. Depending on the applicant’s previous level of experience in health care, additional field work may be required before certification.

Nursing is one of the biggest fields in the health care industry with many niche specialties that deal with various aspects of health care. Lactation consultation is an important part of the health care system, especially with the rising number of babies being born every year. These nurses have the rewarding opportunity to help new mothers learn how to breastfeed their infants. In addition, many lactation consultant nurses earn the same substantial pay as clinical nurse specialists, according to the International Lactation Consultant Association. Lactation consultants typically earn an average wage of $28.42 per hour, or approximately $59,113 annually, according to PayScale, a company that specializes in compensation data.