CLC works to impact policy for breastfeeding families

Jaclyn R. Ligman, BA, CLC has always considered herself a feminist. Her journey through motherhood and breastfeeding intensified her desire to impact the culture of womanhood, she says.

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s  Half the Sky inspired further contemplation of how she would contribute to “the sisterhood.”

“Through a long, twisting path, lactation studies became my answer,” Ligman says.

Only a few months postpartum with her second baby, Ligman says she wanted to learn more about the science behind breastfeeding. Conveniently, she stumbled upon The Lactation Counselor Training Course and decided to attend for “personal knowledge.” Throughout the course though, Ligman reflected on the implications breastfeeding has on public health and wondered how to turn her newfound passion into a career.

Ligman currently pursues her Master’s Degree in Health & Wellness at Union Institute and University— a facility that participates in a cooperative partnership with Healthy Children Project, Inc.

“I usually have a mini breakdown every semester when things get intense and question what I am doing,” Ligman acknowledges the challenges of working full-time, raising a family, pursuing a Master’s Degree and conducting research.

“But my professors have been very enlightening and accessible,” she goes on. “I really like the progression of the courses…[and] I appreciate that the courses… have given me the skills I need conduct and write about research independently.  It is a nice blend of content specific and foundational information.”

Ligman has made strides since she first began to process the implications of breastfeeding on public health during her Lactation Counselor Training. Today, she says her studies have made her aware of the “public health obligation we have to the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.”

Ligman’s personal area of interest deals with worksite lactation.

“It is fascinating that The Business Case for Breastfeeding is as visible as it is,” she says.  “I read a lot about lactation pods being put into sports arenas and airports which to me is such an important initiative towards the normalization of breastfeeding.”

Ligman will co-present Innovative Ideas for Prenatal Breastfeeding Education: Helping Women Reach their Goals at the 2016 International Breastfeeding Conference in Orlando, Fla. She and her co-hosts will explore breastfeeding support in early childhood education programs, accessibility and prevalence of worksite lactation programs, the utilization of community health workers to improve breastfeeding rates and a breastfeeding-friendly, perinatal education model.

Ligman says she is looking forward to meeting new people at the conference, specifically Dr. Karin Cadwell and Dr. Anna Blair.  

“In all honestly, I hope to pick many brains about opportunities for non-nurse IBCLCs and use that information to fine tune my goals for my degree and eventually career transition,” says Ligman. “I want to impact policy; I want to use the women that will be at this conference as resources on how to achieve that goal.”

For the opportunity to network with Ms. Ligman, register for the International Breastfeeding Conference here!

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