This session offers a broad overview of legal and ethical issues that IBCLCs should have on their radar. Imagine this: You are the IBCLC on the postpartum ward, and the parent who is happily breastfeeding just told you they smoked a little marijuana yesterday to ease labor. The chart indicates an injection of hormonal contraceptive has been ordered before discharge. Your colleague handed the family a sample of free formula “just in case.” The baby’s non-birth parent is also lactating, and is demanding to cross-nurse the infant, but the birth parent is now balking about it. The baby’s biological, non-custodial parent wants overnight visitation, starting next week. You just assessed short frenulum and diminished tongue function in the infant, but your facility has no practitioners who diagnose and divide tongue-tie. You know this family needs a pump, and you happen to rent them on the side. What could, should or must the IBCLC say or do? This talk is a first of its kind: an examination of legal and ethical tensions unique to the IBCLC. Regardless of one’s other professional licenses or credentials, there are four primary practice-guiding documents for the IBCLC (The IBLCE Code of Professional Conduct, the IBLCE Scope of Practice for IBCLCs, the ILCA Standards of Practice, and the [WHO] International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes). After a review of those “rules of the road,” we’ll navigate a simple algorithm the IBCLC can use to determine what she could, should or must do, in any situation that sets off ethical red flags in the IBCLC’s mind. Then, we’ll hit highlights of legal and ethical issues for the IBCLC: certification vs. licensure vs. certificates-for-classes-and-courses; who is the patient/client?; the IBCLC on the Internet; conflicts of interest (and tensions from “wearing many hats”); intellectual property law; the WHO Code; the IBCLC in the courtroom (as expert or witness); the IBCLC on the Internet; the IBCLC as breastfeeding advocate, and its corollary: the IBCLC as advocate for a breastfeeding mother.
This session meets requirements for E-CERP approval, for material covering Ethical and Legal Issues, and Public Health and Advocacy, coming under Section VII. Clinical Skills of the IBLCE Detailed Content Outline.