This week’s CHAMPion of the Week is Jaycilyn (“Jace”) Racine, a senior at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana and a member of the Blackfeet tribe. Jace is studying community health with plans to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) immediately after she graduates in May 2017. She has juggled being a college student and a mother, and succeeded in exclusively breastfeeding her daughter, AmeKah, for over 6 months! AmeKah is now almost 2 and still breastfeeding. Jace was also recently a photo model for a project CHAMPS is undertaking to design breastfeeding clinical competency courses geared towards American Indian/Alaska Native professionals and communities.
Jace shares her experience of being both a college student and nursing mom: “It can be hectic at times. Definitely well worth it though…It’s a busy life doing both since she’s still breastfeeding. It’s also wonderful at the same time. I enjoy it. I would rather have her breastfeeding than not breastfeeding. It’s taught me a lot of patience and how to have good time management…[My favorite part is] our bond that we get to have together [and] having her close to me all the time.” Lactation rooms on campus and understanding instructors have also helped Jace continue to breastfeed.
Jace says it was her boyfriend, Josiah, and his mother, who inspired her to breastfeed their daughter. The women in Jace’s family had not breastfeed, but Josiah’s mother had breastfed 9 children. She talked to Jace about breastfeeding and helped AmeKah first latch in the hospital. Jace also met with a lactation counselor on a weekly basis for a while, to deal with early challenges such as cracked nipples and bleeding.
This past summer, Jace completed a 12-week internship with Melanie Duval, CLC, a Lactation Counselor at the Health Department in Bozeman. Jace accompanied Melanie on home visits and at the breastfeeding classes Melanie taught. Jace says the experience increased her breastfeeding knowledge and inspired her to become a CLC!
Congratulations, Jace! We wish you the best in your future career!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).