The Northern Illinois Lactation Consultant Association (NILCA) is a local organization, mostly comprised of lactation professionals and peer supporters, that meets semi-monthly to provide camaraderie and opportunities for education and networking. NILCA members promote breastfeeding in a variety of settings: hospitals, public health departments, private practices, clinics and medical offices, businesses, and in their communities. NILCA is a local chapter of the United States Lactation Consultant Association

Current Officers 



Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, PMH-C​

Jeanne Cygnus has been working with breastfeeding moms, babies, and their families since 1995.
Jeanne owns and runs Cygnus Lactation Services, which includes a teaching clinic, a corporate support division known as LactCorp Solutions, and a professional education division.  She has also recently finished a book for parents called "Why do Babies DO that?!  Every Parent’s Struggle between Culture and Biology” that is pending publication.
Jeanne also recently certified in Perinatal Mental Health, and is working to set up support groups, both for families expecting or parenting a new baby, and also for parents experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

Jeanne is the current president of the Northern Illinois Lactation Consultant Association (NILCA), which helps support those who go on to support the breastfeeding families in our community.  

Her children are now in their 20’s, but she breastfeed them each well into their second year.



Jeni Gentry, MA, IBCLC, RLC, CLS

 Jeni began her involvement in breastfeeding support in 2010 as a volunteer at her Public Health District in the WIC program.  After receiving her IBCLC in 2015, she has balanced supporting breastfeeding families while raising her own family of three children.  She currently works for a private practice lactation clinic in the Chicago Suburbs as well as corporate lactation program supporting working families across the country.  She has served as Treasurer for NILCA since 2017.

Vice President

Melissa Block, IBCLC

BFUSA Counselor

Melissa is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, an administrator for the Chicago Breastfeeding Collective Facebook Group and an accredited Breastfeeding USA Counselor.  She co-founded the North Suburbs chapter of Breastfeeding USA. She began serving as NILCA's Vice President in 2020.  She started her own private practice, North Shore Lactation in 2017 and prides herself in helping breastfeeding parents around the Chicagoland area.  She collectively has 6 years of her own personal breastfeeding experience under her belt. 


Elise Fulara, MA, IBCLC, RLC, CLC, BFUSA Counselor

Elise has been involved in breastfeeding support and advocacy since 2010 through associations with La Leche League (Peer Counselor) and Breastfeeding USA (BC). She served on the volunteer Board of Directors at Breastfeed Chicago prior to  becoming an IBCLC in 2016. She currently works in outpatient and inpatient contexts and has served as Secretary for NILCA since 2016.