Integrating lactation consultants into primary health care services: are lactation consultants affecting breastfeeding success?

Pediatr Nurs. Sep-Oct 2008;34(5):419-25.


This integrative literature review describes the educational background, clinical training, and certification process of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The evidence for use or non-use of IBCLCs in breastfeeding support in the primary care setting and in the care of early parenting families is presented. Medline, PsychInfo, CINAHL, and Google Scholar were searched for research related to IBCLCs. The search was limited to research that studied the use vs. non-use of IBCLCs in outpatient settings and excluded studies that were solely conducted in the hospital environment. This search yielded five studies comparing IBCLC use vs. nonuse in outpatient settings. Study authors suggested a positive correlation between IBCLC use and breastfeeding duration; however, the reliability and validity of the outcomes of these studies could not be ascertained due, in part, to small homogenous sample sizes and other limitations of study design. More research regarding IBCLC use in primary care settings is needed. Limited data available suggest that IBCLCs may promote a longer duration of breastfeeding postpartum when utilized in primary care settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Certification
  • Consultants
  • Evidence-Based Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / organization & administration*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Postnatal Care / organization & administration
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Research Design
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors