What is a Certified Lactation Counselor?

The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification identifies a professional in lactation counseling who has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to provide clinical breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding/lactation.

Interested in becoming a CLC®? Explore the pathways to becoming certified.

Find a CLC/ANLC/ALC on Alpp.org

Part of the Team

CLCs are members of the healthcare team who can provide knowledge and counseling about breastfeeding. CLCs are nationally certified and work in many settings, including:

  • Maternity units in hospitals, birth centers and clinics
  • Neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries
  • Outpatient lactation clinics
  • WIC programs
  • Visiting nurse programs
  • Maternal and child health services at the state, county, and local level
  • Parenting centers and family support centers
  • Pediatric and prenatal care providers
  • Private practice


What can a CLC do for me?

Through demonstrated knowledge and skill, a CLC can provide appropriate support to families, including:

  • assess breastfeeding using a multi-faceted approach
  • use counseling skills and techniques that are supportive of breastfeeding parents and babies
  • construct and maintain conditions that predispose parents and babies to an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience through counseling, education, and support
  • assess for, monitor, and evaluate physical conditions that predispose parents and babies to a complex breastfeeding experience
  • educate, counsel, and support families with complex breastfeeding situations
  • monitor and evaluate behavioral, cultural, and social conditions that predispose parents and babies to complex breastfeeding conditions
  • identify and advocate for aspects of breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes
  • identify and advocate for public health strategies that serve to protect breastfeeding
  • coordinate care consistent with standards of professional ethics and behavior