Jan Riordan Personal Thoughts
Who am I?
Mother of 6 children, grandmother of 12, I am also a Professor of Nursing at Wichita State University, an author of books on breastfeeding, a researcher and a lactation consultant. Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus
Like many of you, I became interested in breastfeeding when I had my children. When I birthed my children there was very little information or support for breastfeeding but fortunately La Leche League was there for me. As I re-entered the nursing profession, I noted a lack of information on breastfeeding for nurses so I wrote my first book, A Practical Guide to Breastfeeding, in 1983. More books followed. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (2010) and its Study guide is now in its 4th edition
How did I get started? While going through my masters program in nursing, I chose class projects, wrote papers and did research related to lactation which led to writing articles and books. The research skills I learned in my doctoral work enabled me to conduct my own research helping to fulfill an abiding interest in breastfeeding clinical studies.
When lactation consultant certification came along in 1985, it was a heady time. All of a sudden, the professional role of helping mothers became a clinical specialty! As a member and President of the International Board of Lactation Consultants, I had the opportunity to help write the first examination and to set up continuing education guidelines for lactation consultants.
Wichita State School of Nursing has established the Riordan Distinguished Professor of Maternal Child nursing with a focus on breastfeeding. Nancy Powers MD, a pediatrician with extensive background in breastfeeding/lactation is the first faculty to be awarded the Riordan Professorship. Dr. Riordan is a Professor Emeritus since her retirement in 2010.
For Those Tuning in for the First Time...
Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants, contributes to their healthy growth and development and reduces both the incidence and severity of infectious and chronic diseases. About 77% of new mothers now start off breastfeeding, quite an increase from the 18% in the 1960's when I began in this field. The U.S. loses bilions of dollars when breastfeeding fails: $475 is lost per non-breastfed infant for extra health care costs.
The benefits of breastfeeding are well known but I also beiieve that it has an empowering influence on women.
©2009 by Jan Riordan
Updated July, 2010