How to Find an IBCLC Mentor for Pathway 3
You’ve figured out your pathway and now need to find an IBCLC mentor, but you have no idea where to start. This guide will walk you through the do’s and don’ts and help you complete this often challenging task. IBCLC Pathway 3 differs from Pathway 1 in that it requires direct supervision by an IBCLC in good standing with IBLCE. Because of the more rigorous oversight, you will only need 500 hours, though those hours do not include charting, debriefing, or any time not spent with lactating parents. Don’t forget, when you enroll in LiquidGoldConcept’s Pathway 3 Global Mentorship Program, we pair you with a mentor!
Finding Local IBCLCs
To find an IBCLC mentor near you, you can utilize one of many online registries. These registries typically only include people who have a paid membership with the organizations or who have voluntarily provided their information to be listed. A couple of these registries are:
If you cannot find someone near you on these registries, you can always search for IBCLCs in your area on Google. You may also come across some in local Facebook groups or be able to get recommendations from other local mothers.
Once you find an IBCLC mentor who is willing and able to mentor you, it’s time to discuss any fees or costs associated with the mentorship. Some IBCLC’s mentor for free, but many will charge a flat fee or hourly rate for the time they spend with you. Estimated flat rate fees can range from $1,500-$5,000 for 500 hours, and hourly rates typically range from around $15-$150 per hour (yes, you read that correctly, IBCLCs can sometimes charge a small fortune for mentorship). Keep in mind that they are not just supervising you but also mentoring you and providing knowledge, time, and invaluable advice with years of experience and insight. With LGC’s Pathway 3 Global Mentorship Program, you can get mentorship for $8 per hour.
Are you ready to find an IBCLC mentor?
IBCLE does not require you to complete its requirements in any particular order. However, the IBCLC who ends up mentoring you may require you have all of your 14 health sciences courses, five communication hours, and 90 lactation education hours completed before beginning. Having all these things completed before reaching out to potential mentors will make mentoring you more appealing.
Reaching out to an IBCLC Mentor
So you decided you are ready, and it’s time to reach out, but where should you start?
First, keep all communications professional, whether you are calling or emailing. When you reach out, you should formally introduce yourself and explain how you located them and why you are reaching out. Tell them any relevant background information such as courses or certifications completed and your next steps. Show your commitment by explaining how long you have been looking into this career, how long you have volunteered at local coalitions, and all other relevant experiences. It may help to explain any future goals you may have during their mentorship and once you become an IBCLC.
Mentorship is an investment; show them why they should invest in you. If you have other mentors already, explain this and what your anticipations are. IBCLE recommends having multiple mentors, so you may not need all 500 hours with each one. Once they agree, it’s time to set a plan for what your mentorship will look like, create a schedule, pay any applicable fees, and finally, fill out the Pathway 3 Mentorship Application Form and submit it to IBLCE for approval.