Maternal Child Health: Lactation Consulting

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General Education Courses

Click here for a complete list of curriculum requirements

Core Courses in the Major

The following five required courses are based on courses offered by the Healthy Children Project. They have been approved by Union Institute & University with the credit recommendations as indicated. Credit will be awarded upon meeting all of the required course participation regulations and the student must pass all required skills competencies. Students may need to travel to attend these Healthy Children courses. After the face-to-face portion of the courses has been completed, students have 60 days to complete the Enhanced Learning Project (a project that is completed). Healthy Children credits are awarded through Union Institute & University and appear on the student’s transcript as transfer credit.

Lactation Counseling: A Certificate Training Program
MCH 330 3 credits

To explore and identify factors that influence success and failure at breastfeeding, the relationship between birthing practices and breastfeeding success, maternal and infant advantages of breastfeeding, identify interventions that help mothers successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding, demonstrate the ability to use counseling skills, identify contraindications to breastfeeding, identify appropriate interventions for special circumstances, discuss national and international initiatives for the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding, discuss ethical issues in clinical practice, and discuss professional roles and scope of practice.

Maternal and Infant Assessment
MCH 331 2 credits

To identify normal maternal/infant assessment parameters, appropriate documentation skills, and to discuss ethical and legal issues of physical assessment. Major topics covered in the course are infant assessment scales, breast and maternal assessment, lexicon of assessment and documentation, normal and gross anatomy of mother and infant, normal and abnormal development of the anatomy and physiology of the breastfeeding couple, ethical and legal framework of physical assessment.

Applied Teaching Methods in Lactation Education for Health Professionals (Learn to Teach the 20 Hour Course)
MCH 332 2 credits

To identify key characteristics of adult students, discuss approaches to enhance presentations to adult students and demonstrate competency as a teacher of the materials, methods and scientific evidence that form the basis of the UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative as implemented in the U. S. Also, teamwork strategies to overcome barriers to implementing optimal hospital practices are explored.

Developing and Implementing Evidence-Based Clinical Practices
MCH 430 2 credits

To describe the history and framework of evidence-based models for common hospital and breastfeeding practices; discuss specific practices related to breastfeeding and the evidence or lack of evidence to support these practices; define and differentiate hospital policies, procedures, standards of care, and protocols and give examples of each; to assess, evaluate and describe problems and strengths of sample policies, describe the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative as reflected in hospital policies, procedures and standards of care; analyze and discuss the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in hospital practice; develop and analyze specific breastfeeding policies, procedures and standards of care for the NICU and for the storage and handling of human milk; and develop, discuss, and evaluate negotiation strategies and quality processes for multidisciplinary teams in hospitals.

Advanced Issues in Clinical Lactation Practice
MCH 431 3 credits

This course covers ethical awareness, ethical analysis and decision making, contemporary ethical issues, and ethical management in organizations. It describes the skills required as leaders encounter ethical dilemmas, process reasoned responses, confront daily and long-term ethical challenges, and make a positive and progressive difference at work by relying on an ethical foundation. The course explores the emotional influence on behavior and decisions, and it explains how to learn from successes and failures.

In addition to these five Healthy Children courses and the required course competencies, the following core courses must be taken while enrolled at Union Institute & University.

Foundations of Maternal Child Health
MCH 220 4 credits

This course provides an overview of the issues and content of maternal and child health services in the United States using an integrated developmental sequence that is organized by themes. Topic areas include children’s rights, distributive justice, and advocacy in maternal and child health, historical foundations of maternal and child health, families and health, family planning, health of mothers and children through adolescence, disparities in maternal and child health in the United States, women’s health through the lifespan, children and youth with special health care needs, issues in maternal and child health nutrition, international maternal and child health, advocacy and policy development in maternal and child health.

Internship or Practicum

Internship I
MCH 460 2-4 credits

Internships are optional and represent one path to the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for those not holding the IBCLC. These independent projects enable the student to accumulate 900 internship hours of supervised, mentored clinical experience in lactation management in hospital, public health, and/or community settings. Activities include identifying possible internship sites and accumulating the internship hours. These theoretical foundations and experiences are designed to develop lactation assessment, client management, and documentation competencies.

Internship II
MCH 461 2-4 credits

This course addresses principles and techniques of staffing the workplace. It includes strategies and practices utilized in staffing, planning, recruiting, and selection. Topics covered include job analysis, recruitment, and selection.

Practicum and Professional Issues in Lactation
MCH 389 2 credits

This course allows the student to acquire a supervised, mentored 40-hour practicum focused on clinical experience in lactation management in hospital, public health or community settings. Theoretical foundations and experiences are designed to develop lactation assessment, client management, and documentation competencies. Experiences may include observation of counseling sessions, discussions with mentor, supervised practice sessions, documentation of cases, and evaluation of achievement of mastery. UI&U/Healthy Children faculty will precept and evaluate the learning outcomes.


Introduction to Nutrition
NUT 223 4 credits

This course examines the impact of nutrition on human health, the processes of digestion, absorption and metabolism, the nature and composition of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and micronutrients, the characteristics of a healthy diet and weight control, and the role of nutrition in pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and the adult lifecycle will be explored in this introduction to human nutrition.

Medical Terminology
MCH 140 2 credits

This course presents the meaning, derivation, and use of medical terminology with emphasis on analysis of terms based on their components. It uses a word building approach designed to enable students to function effectively in health science fields.

Human Anatomy and Physiology
MCH 150 4 credits

Human Anatomy and Physiology considers all of the major systems and their role in the human body. The following topics are included: basic chemistry, cells and tissues, skin and body membranes, the skeletal system, blood, the muscular system, the nervous system, the special senses, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system and body defenses, the respiratory system, the digestive system and body metabolism, the urinary system, and the reproductive system.

Interdisciplinary Foundations of Lactation Consulting
MCH 221 4 credits

This course provides the completion of background education for students who do not have a license, degree, or registration to practice clinically in one of the health professions in order to be eligible to be accepted as a candidate for the IBLCE examination. Introductory anatomy and physiology, social and cultural diversity, psychology, counseling and communication skills, child development, nutritional and medical terminology are explored without reference to breastfeeding and human lactation.

Birth and Breastfeeding
MCH 320 4 credits

Conception, pregnancy, labor and childbirth may have impacts on the establishment and on the development of the maternal child relationship including breastfeeding. This course will explore the consequences of pregnancy and birth events including infertility, perinatal loss, childbirth interventions, and unexpected birth outcomes.

Developing a Lactation Support and Service Program
MCH 321 4 credits

Develop knowledge of the attitudes, business skills and clinical skills necessary to open and successfully operate a community-based private practice as a lactation consultant. Existing models will be presented and evaluated for their advantages, disadvantages, potential client populations and settings. Students will examine legal and ethical issues, professional standards and practical skills that need to be considered.

Maternal-Infant Nutrition
MCH 323 4 credits

This course explores international perspectives on preconception nutrition; the role of nutrition in healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery; nutrition for infancy and childhood; vitamin and mineral supplementation; exogenous chemicals in mother’s milk; and examination and critique of current nutrition trends impacting lactating mothers and their infants.

Skills and Strategies for Breastfeeding Problem Solving
MCH 324 4 credits

This course explores problem-solving skills and strategies in the context of complex breastfeeding case studies. The Healthy Children eight-level problem-solving model is used as the exemplar for this course. This model includes stages of identifying history, assessment, symptoms, problems, as well as proposing, fine-tuning and evaluating potential problem solutions.

Social and Cultural Issues in Health Care
MCH 325 4 credits

This course explores social and cultural issues in health care through readings and critical examination. The student will study issues related to social implications and diversity in health care systems, including health promotion strategies, as well as enhancing preventative care and the role of culture in health care. Also considered are ways providers can enhance community health through improved communication and relationships between themselves and families.

Human Milk for the Preterm/Hospitalized Infant
MCH 326 4 credits

This course examines the composition of human milk in relation to the protective and nutritional requirements of the hospitalized infant and explores strategies for helping mothers to establish and to maintain a milk supply for an infant who is unable to breastfeed or unable to transfer milk effectively. Also discussed are alternatives to mother’s own milk for sick, premature and compromised infants as well as health policy issues related to the provision of human milk for fragile infants.

Mood Disorders in the Perinatal Period
PSY 380 4 credits

This course describes the causes, consequences of and treatment options for postpartum mood disorders. It will describe the three-part stress response (catecholamine, HPA axis, and immune response), and how maternal stress and inflammation increase the risk of depression and other mood disorders. In addition, a range of complementary and alternative treatments will be described including Omega-3 fatty acids, exercise, SAM-e, herbal antidepressants, and antidepressant medications. All treatments will be discussed regarding their impact on breastfeeding.

Practicum and Professional Issues in Lactation
MCH 389 2 credits

This course allows the student to acquire a supervised, mentored 40-hour practicum focused on clinical experience in lactation management in hospital, public health or community settings. Theoretical foundations and experiences are designed to develop lactation assessment, client management, and documentation competencies. Experiences may include observation of counseling sessions, discussions with mentor, supervised practice sessions, documentation of cases, and evaluation of achievement of mastery. UI&U/Healthy Children faculty will precept and evaluate the learning outcomes.

Politics of Breastfeeding
MCH 427 2 credits

This course explores sociologic, cultural, political, and economic forces impacting the practice of breastfeeding, including marketing of breast milk substitutes, workplace accommodations, and economic, social and legal pressures.

Anthropology of Childbirth
MCH 428 2 credits

This course will explore birth in several cultures through the lens of anthropology. Anthropology is a respected field that fosters greater understanding of culture and its human impact. This provocative lens will help us explore our own assumptions and bias as we examine the “usual” practices in other cultures as well as our own. This results in an exploration of ethics and personal practice in our work in maternal child health as lactation care providers.

Infant and Child Growth and Development
MCH 429 4 credits

The growth and development of infants and children is explored in this course. This course begins with prenatal influences on healthy development in the prenatal phase, continuing through birth and newborn life. Next, the growth and development in the first year of life is discussed. Early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence are also explored. Normal stages are explored at each phase of the life cycle from conception to adolescence. Health promotion and cultural implications of health care are emphasized.

Bio-medical Ethics for the Lactation Service Provider
MCH 429 4 credits

This course explores the principles of biomedical ethics and their application to providing lactation services.

Research Methods and Statistics in Lactation
MCH 453 4 credits

The student will examine various research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative methods used in human lactation research to guide policies, procedures, and practice. The course will also explore how research methods and evidence support the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative’s 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Capstone (CGR) Project
MCH 499 6-8 credits

The project draws upon all of the student’s previous experience, both academic and experiential, bringing together the theoretical and practical knowledge attained over the course of the program, especially as it pertains to the major. The project will result in a major paper, article, work of art, training manual, or other product that not only provides the student with lasting educational enrichment but also develops and demonstrates background and expertise.

MCH Independent Studies. Each may be taken two times.
MCH 100/200/300/400 1-4 credits
Independent Studies

MCH Special Topics. Each may be taken two times.
MCH 190/290/390/490 6-8 credits
Special Topics

Students who are interested in qualifying for the IBLCE exam can add the required background courses into their individual degree plan; refer to the MCH chair and/or faculty advisor. Students who are planning to qualify for pathway 2 are also required to plan and complete a 300-hour internship (four credits) in their own community. There are additional requirements for the IBLCE exam which are not part of the degree, but students need to show proof of completion to the MCH advisor before graduation. For exam requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to be sure that all exam requirements are met.

Culminating Graduation Requirement

In addition to the major course work, every student will complete a Culminating Graduation Requirement Capstone Project (MCH 499). The CGR Capstone is expected to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their primary field of study and offer an opportunity to develop a project to present to future employers and/or opportunities to present and publish.