Rhode Island has certified its first lactation consultant. Breastfeeding experts have been helping new mothers for a long time. But this is the first state licensure in the nation.
Memorial Hospital’s Michael Fink is Rhode Island’s – and, as far as she knows, the nation’s – first state-licensed lactation consultant. Many consultants are certified by an international board, and there are other kinds of breastfeeding helpers in hospitals and communities who don’t have a special certification or license. But Fink says having this state stamp of approval could encourage more doctors’ offices to use lactation consultants in their practices.
“We feel lactation consultants will be much more accessible to women in the state if we are licensed," said Fink, "in that there will be more in the community.”
And that’s where many new mothers need a little help to continue breastfeeding, after they’ve left the hospital. Fink also says insurance companies may be more likely to cover lactation consultant services outside the hospital if they’re licensed.