Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority

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Today Thursday 19th April 2018 in London, the Institute of Health Visiting, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) UK Working Group, are convening a conference entitled “Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority”.

The conference will be bringing together recommendations for action to improve integrated infant feeding support services for families, who are currently facing many gaps and cuts in services.

Read their statement here. FINAL PR 180418 – Breastfeeding – a public health priority

Recommendations include:

– basic training for health professionals

– additional peer support

– specialist referral pathway at IBCLC level for complex cases.

Professor Amy Brown will be speaking; also IBCLCs Lyndsey Hookway, Emma Pickett, Helen Gray and Clare Meynell; along with Dr Russel Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Sue Ashmore from Baby Friendly UK, Jon Ashworth MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Dr Louise Santhanam, GP and Chair, the GP Infant Feeding Network, and Viv Bennet CBE, Chief Nurse from Public Health England.


Lactation Consultants of Great Britain is the professional association for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) in Great Britain. The numbers are steadily growing; according to IBLCE data, in 2016 there were 495 IBCLCs in Britain, with more being accredited every year.

IBCLCs provide expert breastfeeding and lactation care, often including multiple roles, as an advocate, clinical expert, collaborator, educator, facilitator, investigator, policy consultant, professional, and promoter (International Lactation Consultant Association, 2011).

In Britain we have IBCLCs using their expert skills in many settings in our statutory universal services, both midwifery and the 0-19 programme, as well as through the voluntary sector and independent work which includes running peer support programmes and working directly with families, as well as research and advocacy.

Research undertaken in 2016 into the role and current practice of IBCLCs in Britain highlighted:

“The most frequently reported skills and competencies used by IBCLCs were delivering specialist services dealing with complex situations for the breastfeeding mother–infant dyad and family (64%)

In addition, IBCLCs have the only credential in the United Kingdom that meets all the lactation objectives of the WHO Education Checklist for Infant and Young Child Feeding for pre‐registration health professional training (World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative, 2016).

IBCLCs have a minimum of 1000 hours experience prior to qualifying for the exam, as well as extensive education requirements, and re-certify every 5 years through CPD and re-sitting the exam.

The preliminary results of this study highlight that highly skilled and competent IBCLCs are integrated within statutory and non‐statutory health care settings in Great Britain, and the prevalence of IBCLCs working in the National Health Service alongside working as private IBCLCs and in the voluntary sector.


International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA): Position paper on the role and impact of the IBCLC https://higherlogicdownload.s3.‐c389‐43de‐83ea‐f32482f20da5/ Uploaded Images/WHY%20IBCLC/Role%20of%20IBCLC/Role%20% 20Impact%20of%20the%20IBCLC.pdf (accessed 31 July 2017)

World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI) UK Report 2016.‐ UK‐2016.pdf (accessed 31 July 2017)

International Board of Lactation Consultant Educators (IBLCE).
Current statistics on worldwide IBCLCs‐iblce/currentstatistics‐ on‐worldwide‐ibclcs/ (accessed 31 July 2017) 22 of 65 ABSTRACTS

The role and practice of the IBCLC in Great Britain – Finch, GM and Falkner, Z (March 2018), Maternal and Child Nutrition, Vol 14 Issue S2, Wiley and Sons – Abstract from MAINN Conference, containing preliminary data from this research.