Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

Breastfeeding promoter

July 28, 2005

Marilyn Nichols is one in 13,708.

Nichols is a certified lactation consultant, meaning that she works with new and expecting mothers teaching and promoting breastfeeding.

"I didn't even know there were such things as certified lactation consultants until we moved to Kansas and I went to a breastfeeding educator program," said Nichols.

One reason she may not have known about the job is because of its rarity. When she was certified in 2001, she said she received a letter saying there were fewer than 14,000 lactation consultants in the world.

Nichols, who has been a registered nurse since 1989, said the job was a good fit for her.

"I got to go right into OB (obstetrical nursing) from nursing school; I was lucky," said Nichols, who had always been interested in the field.

Nichols said information is coming out again about the benefits of breastfeeding. For breastfed babies those include a reduced risk of childhood diabetes and obesity and fewer illnesses because they receive some disease immunity from the mother, she said. Benefits for the mother include a faster return to prepregnancy weight and lower risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, she said.

Name: Marilyn S. Nichols

Address: 423 Hithergreen Drive

Occupation: Registered Nurse and lactation consultant at Cushing Memorial Hospital, Leavenworth

Graduate of: Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas

Family: Husband Ralph of 30 years, and four children, Meredith, 28; John, 26; Miranda, 16; and McCauley, 8

How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? We have lived here for a total of seven years, and the military is what brought us to Kansas. We bought our home in '93 while Ralph taught at Fort Leavenworth, and then we moved away in '95. We returned after five years and have lived in our home again since 2000. We moved to Lansing initially because of the good reputation of the high school.

What do you like most about Lansing? I enjoy the small-town atmosphere, even though it has certainly grown since we first moved here in 1993. The residents are very friendly, and the schools are excellent.

What do you do to relax? I read as much as possible and work in my garden. I also love to go camping with my family when we have the time. I play Bunco every month with a group of friends locally as well.

What would surprise people about you? I was very shy when I was young. I would hide my face in my mother's skirts so I wouldn't have to talk with people.

What's the best advice you ever received? My grandmother told me when I was young that I needed to be content wherever I lived. She said, "Marilyn, some people go through life searching for something that's been in their own back yard and they never saw it." Little did she know I would become a military wife and move all over the world. My back yard has been many places and very happy.

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