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Book Review

Core Curriculum for Interdisciplinary Lactation Care 


Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC)
Suzanne Hetzel Campbell, PhD, RN, IBCLC, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Judith Lauwers, BA, IBCLC, FILCA
Rebecca Mannel, MPH, IBCLC, FILCA, Director, Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Becky Spencer, PhD, RN, IBCLC, Texas Woman’s University, Dallas, Texas

Publisher: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc  ISBN-13: 9781284111163
Paperback    538 pages      © 2019 (published July 2018) Approximate price €90

Title for the three previous editions was Lactation Consultant Practice and this edition is changed to Interdisciplinary Lactation Care.

http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/Details.aspx?isbn13=9781284111163 (sample materials) provides some chapter excerpts



Target readers:

Health workers preparing for IBLCE exam, those undertaking comprehensive training related to lactation care, as well as facilitators of learning for health workers to ensure key information points are covered in learning sessions.



Reflecting the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC) Curriculum for Programs in Human Lactation information is presented in three sections: Science, Management, and Professional with a total of 32 chapters each written by one or more experts in that topic. Includes a wide range of clinical topics. Each chapter has objectives, definitions, brief overview, content presented as bullet points, key points from the chapter, some have clinical tips box and/or a case study with questions, and chapter references (which are generally very recent) and for some chapters a further reading or additional resources section. There are a small number of black and white illustrations and an exam candidate would need to use another resource to become familiar with pictures related to lactation. When there are case studies with questions these are more useful to deepen learning and apply learning in clinical care rather than in a format to prepare for exam questions. There is an index to the whole book to look for a specific topic.



Though titled Core Curriculum the content is far more extensive than a curriculum, which might be thought to be a list of learning topics or activities or expected competencies. It is a textbook made up of key points. The variety of chapter contributors results in a variety of depth of topic content.

Diversity and inclusion is noticeable throughout the book with mention of transgender and nonbinary parents at the beginning of each chapter. Can you distinguish between cultural competency and cultural humility? If no, then you need Chapter 28 – I had not come across the term cultural humility before so there is plenty of learning in this book even for long-term IBCLCs. I also liked the chapter on LC as a change agent as many of the other textbooks are more science theory focused with less of psychosocial aspects that influence behaviours.

I was disappointed in places with phrasing of “benefits of breastfeeding” that referred to the lower risk of illness associated with breastfeeding rather than breastfeeding as the norm and potential higher risks from not breastfeeding. I was surprised at a Clinical Tip (Chapter 31) that stated “Except in rare situations, all parents need ongoing and skilled support to breastfeed or express milk to meet their breastfeeding goals.” I would have thought millions of women worldwide breastfeed with support of family and friends and contact with an IBCLC is what is rare. Many of the examples such as in the employment chapter reflect a US focus.

Advocacy is not listed in the index. The International Code of Marketing is referred to as the “WHO Code” in a one paragraph section and the aims or purpose of the Code is not mentioned. The portions of two chapters with sections on assisting learning (of parents and of health colleagues) were very brief. There is a chapter including reading and critiquing research material however I did not find a section on assessing leaflets, websites and other sources of information, nor did I find a section on group sessions for pregnant or new parents; the focus seemed to be on one-to-one counselling for women experiencing breastfeeding challenges. These gaps in the book may reflect the gaps in the IBLCE topics that are examined since the book is aimed at those taking the exam.



If preparing for the ICLCE exam then going through this book and noting points that are new to you or cause you to question your understanding of the point, and then look for more information, would be a good use of the book. There is not much white space on the page so have a pack of sticky notes to hand if you want to make notes on the pages.

The book is 538 pages in a large page format. It is heavy (over 1 kg) and a bit floppy thus would be most comfortable to read at desk rather than on your lap while commuting.


Review by

Genevieve Becker, PhD, IBCLC, MINDI

Registered Dietitian and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

2 Kylemore Park

Taylor’s Hill

Galway City

July 23 2018


Further Reading


Presenting at the ILCA 2023 In-person Conference in Las Vegas:  A Personal Account


ILCA 2023 Conference Presentation: Building Policy Coalitions


WHO/Unicef Congress