Course Description

BreastfeedLA’s Lactation Education Specialist course prepares community health workers, nurses, doulas, pediatricians, midwives, and others interested in working to promote health and wellness for families to become lactation educators. 

This 45-hour LEAARC approved course covers basic breastfeeding management such as the basic anatomy/physiology of lactation, positioning and latch, common breast/chestfeeding challenges, counseling skills, early postpartum management, alternative feeding methods, creating a prenatal breastfeeding class, local and global public health considerations and more. 

Upon completion of the course, graduates may use the title “Certificated Lactation Educator Specialist” (CLES). This designation is valid for 5 years from the date the certificate is issued. Renewal is offered by application only (email for details).

Course Objectives

Course topics include basic anatomy and physiology of lactation, early attachment of the baby, hospital care, support during the postpartum stage, common concerns and solutions, and assistive devices used in breast/chestfeeding and much more!

  • Contextualize breast/chestfeeding as inseparable from the structures and systems that underlie infant feeding disparities

  • Identify common barriers to establishing lactation and strategies to overcome those barriers

  • Provide a thorough understanding of basic lactation management skills

  • Explore causes and solutions for common lactation problems

  • Establish basic understanding of newborn behavior and development and how it relates to infant feeding

  • Develop the necessary skills to educate pregnant and lactating persons about breast/chestfeeding in both group and individual settings, including teaching a prenatal breastfeeding class

  • Develop the necessary counseling skills to provide sensitive and culturally appropriate care to lactating parents and family

What Makes Our Course Different

It is the position of BreastfeedLA that breast/chestfeeding must be addressed as not solely an individual choice, but an expression of culture. Therefore, our Lactation Education Specialist and Lactation Consultant Education courses, like all our programming, are committed to recognizing and celebrating diversity, inclusion, and equity; and grounded by the guiding principle of cultural awareness and relevancy. BreastfeedLA’s Lactation Education program is proudly taught by women of color Lactation Consultants within a framework of reproductive justice. Our curriculum is culturally responsive, intentionally inclusive, and tailored to the specific needs of our diverse communities.

You are a change maker.

Don't you feel it's time to match your skill with your passion?


Lactation Education Specialist Course prerequisites include:

  • High school diploma or GED

  • A passion for elevating breast/chestfeeding as a public health strategy to improve disparities in health outcomes

  • The commitment to yourself and your community that you can do this!

Did you know?

  • Breast/chestfeeding Saves Lives

    The World Health Organization estimates that increasing our breast/chestfeeding rates to near universal levels could save nearly 800,000 infants annually. As a Lactation Educator YOU are on the front lines of reducing infant mortality in your community.

  • You Are Needed

    Breast/chestfeeding rates are lowest in marginalized communities. According to USLCA, under 10% of lactation providers in the United States are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). Even fewer self-identify as non-binary. What does that mean? We need lactation providers from diverse backgrounds with a commitment to social justice and providing exemplary care to better serve our communities. Whether you belong to a traditionally marginalized community or share in a commitment to breaking down structural barriers for marginalized people, we need you.

  • In High Demand

    Whether you are already working with new families or looking to change careers, having a certificate as a Lactation Educator shows you have specialized knowledge in supporting breast/chestfeeding making you more marketable, able to charge more, or possibly even eligible for a salary increase.

Upcoming Course begins October 5, 2021

Trust yourself. You're ready.

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Clinical Director

Hannah Halliwell

Hannah Halliwell, IBCLC has worked supporting birthing people and children as an advocate and educator for over a decade. Since 2008, she has worked as a birth/postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant throughout Los Angeles County. Currently, Hannah works as the Clinical Director with BreastfeedLA, on the perinatal education team at Eisner’s Women’s Health Center, and in private practice as a lactation consultant. Hannah's approach to supporting families during their transition into parenthood is strength-based and focuses on informed decision making, building self-efficacy, and developing communication skills. Driven by an ardent belief in the inherent dignity of all people, Hannah seeks to increase the number of safe spaces for women and children of color, particularly during major life transitions such as childbirth and early parenting. As a teacher and mentor, she strives to advance the understanding that breast/chestfeeding is a vital piece of increasing health for whole communities, and therefore a crucial public health intervention, particularly for underserved groups.


  • How is BreastfeedLA’s course different from other programs?

    BreastfeedingLA’s Lactation Education program is committed to recognizing and celebrating diversity, inclusion, and equity; and grounded by the guiding principle of cultural awareness and relevancy. BreastfeedLA’s Lactation Education program is proudly taught by women of color Lactation Consultants within a framework of reproductive justice. Our curriculum is culturally responsive, intentionally inclusive, and tailored to the specific needs of our diverse communities. If that doesn’t make us different, good! We hope this becomes the standard for lactation education across the United States.

  • Do you offer scholarships?

    Yes, thanks to our generous donors and community partners we often have scholarships available. In order to learn more about current scholarship opportunities, please sign up for our newsletter. Any scholarship opportunities we have will always be included in our regular mailing.

  • What credentials can I use after I receive my certificate?

    After you successfully complete your Lactation Education Specialist course, you can use the credentials CLES (Certificated Lactation Education Specialist). This lactation educator designation is equivalent to other 45hr lactation educator credentials such as CLC/CLEC/CLE. After you complete your Lactation Consultant Education course and before you successfully pass the IBCLC exam, you should still use the credential CLES.

  • Does my certificate expire?

    Yes. Lactation Education Specialist (CLES) certificates expire after a period of five (5) years from the date issued. You can apply for certificate renewal by completing our 8-hour refresher course and submitting records of an additional 37 hours of lactation specific education completed within the five year time frame. Requests for renewal should be sent to

  • What happens if I can’t make it to one of the scheduled class times?

    BreastfeedLA strives to meet the needs of all our students. If you have a conflict with a scheduled class time, please work with your instructor directly to find a solution. We take pride in offering quality education and expect all course requirements are met prior to issuing your certificate, however we also know life happens. Some of our students need more time than others; that is why you have up to one calendar year from the start of your class to finish all your course requirements. It is our goal to help you reach your goals. Please see our Policies & Disclosures for more detailed information on missed classes and course payment.

  • What jobs can I get after receiving my certificate as a Lactation Educator?

    Lactation educators are an integral part of the healthcare team working alongside doctors, midwives, and dieticians in many settings in our community including hospitals, community clinics, home visiting agencies, and more. While lactation educators do not provide hands-on breastfeeding support without supervision, the scope of practice for a lactation educator does position the individual to provide prenatal breastfeeding education to groups and individuals, facilitate breastfeeding support groups, and to advocate for breastfeeding in the community and the public realm. BreastfeedLA does not provide job placement assistance however graduates of the LES program have successfully found employment in positions as home visitors, parent coaches, peer counselors, nutrition assistants, and lactation educators in hospitals and other community settings in their community.

Course Pricing

Registering Early? Use the coupon code "OCTEARLYBIRD" for additional $ off your purchase! Expires Sept 21, 2021

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BreastfeedLA is an approved provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing. This course offers contact hours in continuing education will be offered. BreastfeedLA’s provider number is CEP 16435. Licensee must maintain certificate for a period of four years.