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Chaya Lighten MHA, RPA-C, IBCLC & Marninah Hersh RN, IBCLC

Chaya Lighten, MHA, RPA-C, IBCLC

Initially trained as a Physician Assistant, Chaya was drawn to pediatrics early in her career. She first worked on the pediatric ward in Jamaica Hospital in Queens, NY. Following a move to Central NJ, she worked in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  She added lactation education to her knowledge-base early on but was excited to provide lactation consultations for patients while she worked at a private pediatric practice as both a PA and an IBCLC. She enjoys blending her neonatal and pediatric medical experience with her lactation expertise.  


Chaya received her Physician Assistant degree from Touro College and completed her Lactation Consultant training through Lactation Education Resources. She is board certified from International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration from University of Maryland. She continues to further her skillset, and has become an advanced craniosacral therapist (CST) through the Upledger Institute. She is a two-time attendee of the Oral Habilitation of the Breastfeeding Dyad in addition to many other continuing education courses.    She lives with her husband and children in Edison, NJ where they enjoy being outdoors kayaking, biking, organic gardening and tending their flock of pet chickens! 

Marninah Hersh, RN, IBCLC, ICCE​

Marninah was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Ottawa.  She completed her lactation training at Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital in New York City under the guidance of lactation consultants in practice for over 20 years.  During this time, she also completed training as a childbirth educator.  Following a move to Central NJ, Marninah joined a large pediatric private practice and has been consulting with breastfeeding mothers and offering breastfeeding classes.  Her entertaining yet informative prenatal breastfeeding classes at Babies R Us were always well-attended and much appreciated.  She is board certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Childbirth Education Association.  She lives with her husband and children in Highland Park, NJ.  When not busy driving carpool or supervising homework, Marninah loves to spend time outdoors with her family, take on DIY projects around the house and entertain family and friends.


Catherine Laplante BS, IBCLC

Catherine spent most of her childhood years in Upper Montclair, NJ. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire, where she met her husband Denis. They settled in Monmouth County, NJ where they raised their four children. Catherine spent 25 years as a stay-at-home Mom, and became a strong advocate for breastfeeding support through her volunteer work with La Leche League. She was a La Leche League leader for five years, and continues to stay involved as a leader with no group affiliation.

Catherine became credentialed as a post-partum doula with Doulas of North America (DONA) in 2009. Through her doula work, she discovered her gifts and interests were in post-partum lactation support. She was credentialed as an IBCLC in 2011. In addition to her private practice work, she worked for several years as a lactation consultant at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a baby-friendly hospital in Neptune, NJ.  Catherine joined Lactation Central in 2017 and services the Southern Jersey Monmouth area.  In her free time, Catherine enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two grandsons. She loves swimming, yoga, reading and entertaining friends and family at the Jersey Shore.

Catherine Laplant BA, IBCLC
Shira Shenkman Doula

Shira Shenkman

Shira Shenkman is a DONA trained Doula and has been in practice for several years.  She has extensive training in various birthing techniques with an emphasis on optimal maternal positioning and breathing.  Shira has experience working in many of the hospitals in New Jersey and New York and is admired by the physicians for her ability to balance being an advocate for her clients while being respectful of the hospital medical environment.  She loves her profession and is passionate about helping her clients meet their personal birthing goals.  Shira lives with her husband and 6 children in Edison, NJ.

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