This year we salute the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) which is celebrating its 50th birthday – half a century of promoting breastfeeding providing assistance to mums struggling with nursing issues.
A Time of Struggle
While so many things were beginning to change in the 60s young mothers were facing a struggle of their own. Finding help when faced with breastfeeding problems was almost non-existent, so in 1964 a group of six Melbourne mums joined forces and founded what was then known as the Nursing Mothers’ Association.
There are so many common challenges associated with breastfeeding and many hospitals at the time had turned to infant formula as an easy solution. Of course there were still mothers out there who wanted to provide their babies with mother’s milk. ABA founder Mary Paton said “I was acutely aware of the lack of breastfeeding information available in 1962 when I was unable to adequately nurse my firstborn, Brigid.” Because of this she joined forces with five other Melbourne mothers in the same boat and decided to help provide not only support for young mothers but to also find the information they needed to have success at breastfeeding.
Resource and Facts
The women put together evidence-based information in hand with a place for mothers to meet and support each other in their breastfeeding efforts. They worked with medical and scientific experts so that all the information they shared was supported by scientific evidence.
“Research shows that more than 90 per cent of Australian mothers want to breastfeed so it is just as important now as in 1964 to offer mothers help and support so they can breastfeed for as long as they would like to,” says current ABA President Rachel Fuller.
Volunteer Counselors and Educators
Of course reading a book and trying to apply what is seen in diagrams cannot be matched to the support and guidance provided by the 1100 volunteer breastfeeding counselors and educators. They are certified in Breasting education and provide one on one assistance to help mother and baby breastfeed comfortably and effectively. In fact in her early days Mrs. Paton travelled all the way to Altona to lead a group. There is also mother to mother and community support.
At Auqust, we join in the celebrations and continue to design and make breastfeeding clothes and in our own way, support the Australian breastfeeding community.