Human Lactation (NURS 720)

HLpic1-1This on-line course is designed for licensed health professionals who have clinical experience working with breastfeeding mothers and infants. This course is accredited by the Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (AARC) on behalf of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) and the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). About 300 students worldwide have taken this course.

The course provides an in-depth focus on the anatomical and physiological basis of lactation and breastfeeding. Factors that impact maintenance of health during lactation and clinical decisions for disease prevention are explored using evidence-based criteria. Course addresses preparation for lactation consultant certification. Students work on case studies, participate in on-line discussions and take a final examination via the Internet. N720 meets the IBLCE requirements for ethics content.

Breastfeeding and Human Lactation is a university course taught entirely on the Internet. The course is open to licensed health professionals who have two to three years of clinical experience with breastfeeding dyads and can be taken for 3 or 4 credit hours. The course is taught each fall and spring  semester but enrollment is limited.

Benefits of Nurs 720

  • Confers college credit 3 or 4 hours (graduate credit) from an accredited university
  • Gives 45 CERPS for taking the IBLCE exam
  • Approval by the Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (AARC) on behalf of ILCA and IBLCE
  • Access to many full-text breastfeeding articles free (through WSU library's electronic databases)
  • Enhances learning by being spread out over a semester
  • Attend class online day or night at your convenience; there is no set time for class meetings each week


  • Interactive learning
  • Discussion and group studies
  • Case studies: Intermediate and advanced level
  • Practice quizzes and final exam to prepare you for the IBLCE certification exam

Required Textbook & Journal Articles

The text for the class is Breastfeeding and Human Lactation by Riordan (2010, 4th edition). There is an optional Study Guide (2011). 

Readings of selected journal articles (articles can be printed from WSU Library Electronic Resources). Students have access to all major bibliographic databases for full text library searches.

Course Objectives:

  • Review fundamental anatomic, biologic, and physiologic concepts of lactation and breastfeeding.
  • Describe epidemiologic trends, historical events and promotion programs related to breastfeeding and lactation.
  • Promote and maintain healthy lifestyles for the breastfeeding dyad within a family system.
  • Apply clinical decisions and teaching for selected health problems in the lactating woman and breastfed infant based upon knowledge of physiologic processes.
  • Analyze evolving roles and ethical dilemmas for health care providers in advanced practice as a lactation consultant.
  • Prepare for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiner Examination.

For additional information, please contact the instructor:

Jolynn Dowling, MSN, ARNP-NNP, IBCLC, Instructor,  Wichita State University.
Email: jolynn.dowling@wichita.edu
Phone: (316) 978-5717 or 1-800-516-0290


Classes are held each fall and spring.  Fall semester begins in late August and spring semester begins in late January.  This course uses Blackboard as the program software and content is updated every semester. Students have access to online articles in full text from Birth, JOGNN, and other well known journals through the University library.  Instructor approval and student clearance is required for enrollment in the course.

If you are interested in taking this course follow the instructions below.

All Students
N720 is limited to licensed health professionals with at least 2 years of clinical experience with breastfeeding dyads.  You will need to decide between the 3 credit hour version and the 4 credit hour version.  Click here for detailed information.   Instructor approval for enrollment in the course is required. 

Detailed instructions for enrollment are posted here (PDF) 

Tuition & Fees
Please refer to Wichita State University course catalog regarding tuition and fees (may be subject to change).

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