Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation

Become a Lactation Professional

Union Institute & University’s Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation is for anyone with a passion for happy and healthy children.

One of the only Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation programs in the country, our program is made up of people from all backgrounds, including nursing and healthcare. Through our partnership with the Healthy Children Project (HCP), we provide you with the skills and training to counsel expectant mothers and mothers of young infants about feeding and caring for their young infants, whether you’re experienced in lactation or new to the field.

Union’s flexible, distance learning program with four Healthy Children Project face-to-face workshops is ideal for busy parents and working professionals. We make it easy to take control of your education and your future. Learn according to your schedule at a time that’s most convenient for you.


Careers for B.S. Graduates with a Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation Major

Graduates of our program may qualify to provide instruction and/or make presentations in the following industries:

  • Medical
  • Community
  • Governmental
  • Non-profit


  • Explain and apply the major terms, methods, concepts and/or theories relevant to maternal child health and human lactation.
  • Identify, analyze, and evaluate scientific research findings related to the methods, concepts, theories, and practice of maternal child health and human lactation.
  • Apply the principles of biomedical ethics, lactation science, and related disciplines in the provision of breastfeeding counseling and adult education services.
  • Apply critical thinking and problem solving methods to correctly identify and assess contributing factors and causes of breastfeeding management problems.
  • Develop and describe an appropriate individualized and client-centered plan, assist in the implementation of the plan, evaluate the effectiveness of the plan, and document client interactions.
  • Communicate with clients and members of the health care team in a professional, integrated, interdisciplinary, and culturally competent manner.

IBCLC Preparation and Internships

The Maternal Child Health and Lactation Consulting major prepares graduates to site for the IBCLC examination by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. Required instruction is delivered through workshops conducted by Healthy Children Project faculty at locations around the country, combined with enhanced learning projects to earn college credit.

Those wishing to sit for the IBCLC exam may complete a 300 hour internship. Those not wishing to qualify for the IBCLC Academic Pathway may complete a practicum. Pathways for eligibility for IBCLC exam are changing effective August 2016. Please consult with a program advisor concerning design of the correct pathway. All other courses required to complete the degree are offered by UI&U through distance learning.

HCP Partnership

The Maternal Child Health: Human Lactation major is offered through a learning partnership with the Healthy Children Project (HCP), a research and education institution dedicated to improving child health outcomes. Through their Center for Breastfeeding, HCP is the largest national provider of lactation management education for healthcare providers.

Members of the HCP faculty are leaders in the breastfeeding and lactation field who are recognized for their evidence-based scholarship, as well as their clinical experience. Faculty serve in leadership positions in maternal and child health coalitions at the regional and national level. In addition, Healthy Children is a founding member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) and an invited member of the USDA Breastfeeding Promotion Consortium.

Specialized Courses and Certifications

Completion of the distance education degree program requires four courses through the Healthy Children Project. Two of these courses result in certifications. The four Healthy Children Project (HCP) classes require travel to workshops as an additional student’s expense.

  • Lactation Counselor Training Course* (CLC certification)
  • Developing and Implementing Evidence Based Clinical Practices (Distance Learning Course)
  • Maternal and Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation
  • Applied Teaching Methods in Lactation Education: Learn to Teach the 20-Hour Course
  • Advanced Issues in Lactation Practice (ANLC or ALC certification)

Core Curriculum

General Education Courses

View a complete list of curriculum requirements.

Major Core Courses

The Maternal Health: Lactation Consulting program requires a minimum of 48 credits in the major.

  • HCP 330 Lactation Counseling (3 cr.)
  • HCP 331 Maternal and Infant Assessment (2 cr.)
  • HCP 332 Applied Teaching Methods in Lactation Education for Health Professionals – Learn to Teach the 20-Hour Course (2 cr.)
  • HCP 431 Advanced Issues in Clinical Lactation Practice (3 cr.)

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

  • MCH 150 Human Anatomy & Physiology (4 cr.)
  • MCH 220 Foundations of Maternal Child Health (4 cr.)
  • MCH 223 Lifecycle Nutrition (4 cr.)
  • MCH 322 Research and Evidence in Maternal Child Health (4 cr.)
  • MCH 481 Politics and Social Justice in Maternal Child Health (4 cr.)

View core course descriptions.

Internships or Practicum

  • MCH 250 Pre-Internship/Pre-Practicum Planning (1 cr.)
  • MCH 460 Internship I (2 cr.)
  • MCH 461 Internship II (2 cr.)
    MCH 389 Practicum in MCH (2 cr.)
    MCH 388 Applications in Lactation Care (2 cr.)


  • GANT 220 Folklore in Childbirth (3 cr.)
  • MCH 140 Medical Terminology (2 cr.)
  • MCH 323 Maternal-Infant Nutrition (4 cr.)
  • MCH 324 Skills and Strategies for Breastfeeding Problem Solving (4 cr.)
  • MCH 325 Social and Cultural Issues in Health Care (4 cr.)
  • MCH 327 Birth Outcomes: Joys and Sorrows (4 cr.)
  • MCH 328 Developing a Community Based Support System (4 cr.)
  • MCH 329 Perspectives in Professional Lactation Support (4 cr.)
  • MCH 380 Mood Disorders in the Perinatal Period (4 cr.)
  • MCH 383 Assessment, Perceptions, and Assumptions in Maternal Child Health (1 cr.)
  • MCH 428 Anthropology of Childbirth (3 cr.)
  • MCH 429 Infant and Child Growth and Development (4 cr.)
  • MCH 450 Implementing the BFHI: Step Four (1 cr.)
  • MCH 452 BioEthics in Maternal Child Health  (4 cr.)
  • MCH 480 Power and Social Inequities in Maternal Child Health (2 cr.)

View electives descriptions.

Students interested in qualifying for the IBLCE exam should work with their program advisor and department chair to determine correct Pathway for individual eligibility.

Culminating Graduation Requirement

The following course must be taken during the last term in the degree program:

MCH 481 Politics and Social Justice in Maternal Child Health (4 cr.)

Prerequisites: MCH 220 and all HCP workshops must be have been satisfactorily completed before the student’s final term of enrollment. Registration for MCH 481 requires permission of program chair.