Human Lactation

Certificates

Baby Friendly Hospital Staff Certificate

This program fulfills the criteria for staff education as set by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. It focuses on the physiology of attachment, bonding, and breastfeeding and the short- and long-term impacts of perinatal care practices on the mother-baby dyad. It grapples with the challenges of applying best-practice guidelines and model hospital policies to alleviate barriers for mothers choosing exclusive breastfeeding and to create environments that support maternal-infant biology and the newborn's natural capabilities, allowing improved outcomes with less time and effort.

Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
HLACT 301 Supporting the Mother-Baby Connection: Evidence-Based Practices for Perinatal Care (1) 1
   or NURSE 391 Supporting the Mother-Baby Connection: Evidence-Based Practices for Perinatal Care (1)
Total Units: 1

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • examine and explain the rationale for professional, national, and international policies that promote, protect, and support breastfeeding as a public health goal.
  • create through collaboration a new standard of perinatal care based on best practice guidelines as defined in the following documents: a) The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, b) American Academy of Pediatrics Workgroup on Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, c) Providing Breastfeeding Support: Model Hospital Policy Recommendations, and d) U.S. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.
  • identify human species-specific norms for growth and development and disease resistance based on the exclusively breastfeeding mother-baby dyad and explain the risks to the mother and infant of early introduction of artificial milk.
  • communicate effectively about infant feeding, identifying teaching points appropriate for prenatal and postpartum women regarding breastfeeding and when educating or counseling parents who are using bottles and/or formula.
  • evaluate current hospital practices in terms of barriers to maintaining mother-baby connectedness.
  • devise solutions to alleviate common barriers to exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital setting, integrating concepts of system change.
  • create an environment that supports the newborn's natural capabilities.
  • integrate concepts of the neurobiology of breastfeeding to address initiation and problem remediation and to support milk-supply maintenance issues.
  • demonstrate techniques and skills to transition the newborn from one state of alertness to another and to help families perceive and understand the language and patterns of the newborn.
  • describe essential components of community support for mothers to sustain breastfeeding beyond the early weeks.
  • discuss contraindications to breastfeeding in the United States and identify acceptable medical reasons for supplementation of breastfed babies based on national and international authorities.
  • uncover and explore personal values and attitudes related to the birthing and breastfeeding experience.

Career Information

Hospital staff require upgraded education to meet Joint Commission accreditation standards for lactation competency and support services. SB 402, signed into law in 2013, requirs all perinatal hospitals in California to implement all Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as adopted by Baby Friendly USA, or an equivalent evidence-based process recognized by the California Department of Public Health, by January 1, 2025. An expanding number of local hospitals, including all those within Sacramento County, have signed letters of intent and are in the process of meeting, or have already met, Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative standards, requiring all staff to obtain this level of preparation. This means that registered nurses, particularly those in the perinatal field, will require this preparation to maintain their career. This preparation will be of significant benefit to the new nursing graduate when competing for jobs in this field.


Lactation Consultant Assistant Certificate

This program is designed for community workers responsible for promoting and protecting breastfeeding and charged with providing basic assessment, support, and appropriate referral for breastfeeding mothers in the community. It is also useful for students entering or preparing for professions in nursing, nutrition, health education, or early childhood development as well as for practicing professionals in these fields. Topics include an overview of factors impacting breastfeeding rates, anatomy and physiology of lactation, health effects and current recommendations, and the role of the lactation consultant assistant in facilitating breastfeeding, with a focus on counseling skills and cultural awareness.

Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
HLACT 302 Fundamentals of Lactation Consultant Assisting 2.5
Total Units: 2.5

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • describe the lactation consultant assistant's role, scope, and limits of practice.
  • evaluate breastfeeding status and potential based on understanding of lactation anatomy/physiology and signs of adequate milk transfer.
  • compare and contrast breastmilk and breastfeeding with artificial baby milks and artificial feeding in terms of composition and physiologic/developmental effects.
  • employ effective counseling skills, establishing a therapeutic relationship with respect for individual and cultural differences.
  • demonstrate the educational and technical skills required to provide basic assistance with successful breastfeeding initiation and maintenance.
  • recommend appropriate interventions and referrals given a range of common early breastfeeding problems, questions, and challenging situations.
  • examine barriers to breastfeeding, and investigate approaches to normalizing breastfeeding in the community and society.
  • propose counseling options to address individual responses to barriers that are impacting breastfeeding success.
  • recommend in-hospital practices to support breastfeeding in light of current research evidence.
  • apply concepts of client confidentiality, professional etiquette, and appropriate documentation practices to the lactation consultant assistant's role.

Career Information

Lactation Consultant Assistants/Peer Counselors are utilized in the federal Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Many service agencies require that their home visitors to families with young children be capable of providing basic lactation counseling and of recognizing when and where to refer an individual when lactation difficulties arise.


Lactation Educator/Counselor Certificate

This certificate provides the educational coursework to function as a lactation counselor or educator. Topics include an introduction to professionalism in the healthcare context; business models and opportunities for practice; limits of the lactation educator/counselor role and making appropriate referrals; evidence and rationale related to health initiatives to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding as a public health priority; systems change and acting as a change agent; physiologic basics of normal lactation; lactation-support preparation, addressing norms, barriers, and common problems; counseling essentials; and adult education principles to provide individual or group teaching. Opportunity is provided to practice these concepts in a supervised field/lab environment.


Certificate Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
HLACT 301 Supporting the Mother-Baby Connection: Evidence-Based Practices for Perinatal Care (1) 1
   or NURSE 391 Supporting the Mother-Baby Connection: Evidence-Based Practices for Perinatal Care (1)
HLACT 302 Fundamentals of Lactation Consultant Assisting 2.5
HLACT 311 Human Lactation for Lactation Counselors & Educators 2.5
HLACT 321 Interpreting Baby Behavior 0.5
Total Units: 6.5

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • practice within the lactation educator/counselor role, scope, and limits of practice, applying concepts of client confidentiality, professional etiquette, and appropriate documentation.
  • evaluate physical, behavioral, cultural and social conditions predisposing mothers and babies to either a complex or an uncomplicated breastfeeding experience, integrating concepts of the neurobiology of breastfeeding and baby behavior, and assist in preventing or resolving common problems through counseling, education, and support, distinguishing possible need for and appropriate level of referral to other care providers as indicated.
  • compare and contrast breastmilk and breastfeeding with artificial baby milks and artificial feeding in terms of composition and physiologic/developmental effects, identifying human species-specific norms for growth and development and disease resistance.
  • choose and apply appropriate counseling skills and techniques in support of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, their babies, and their partners and significant others, and develop an individualized teaching plan specific to the needs identified through assessment and counseling.
  • plan and conduct lactation and related group health classes or programs and facilitate breastfeeding support groups.
  • evaluate written and media materials for their suitability in lactation education and counseling, and recommend community resources for lactation support.
  • defend and advocate for evidence-based breastfeeding management programs that facilitate optimal health outcomes and public health strategies to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.

Career Information

Lactation educators and counselors are often employed by obstetric and pediatric offices and clinics, hospitals, public health and community perinatal programs, federal Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs, and private baby boutiques. Individuals may desire this credential to augment their birth or postpartum doula role and are capable of working in independent practice.