Australian Breastfeeding Association
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is an Australian organisation of people interested in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding. Amongst these are breastfeeding women and their partners and health professionals such as doctors, lactation consultants and midwives.
ABA was founded in Melbourne, Victoria in 1964 as the Nursing Mothers' Association, with the aim of giving mother-to-mother support to breastfeeding women. It is Australia's leading source of breastfeeding information and support.
The association is supported by health authorities and specialists in infant and child health and nutrition, including a panel of honorary advisers.
Mary Paton founded the Nursing Mothers' Association with five other mothers in Melbourne after having difficulty breastfeeding her first child. Doctors and nurses at the time were not trained to handle breastfeeding problems and with the modern nuclear family there were few older women to turn to for advice, so the founding members supported each other, thus creating the model for mother-to-mother support than continues today. The other founders were Glenise Francis, Pat Patterson, Jan Barry (a member of the Coles family), Pauline Pick and Sue Woods.
In 2001, NMAA changed its name to Australian Breastfeeding Association and Paton was included in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women as part of the Centenary of Federation's Ordinary Woman: Extraordinary lives.
In March 2004 Paton became an Australian Living Treasure. On the 2006 Australia Day Honours list Mary Paton OAM, was awarded the higher honour of Member (AM) in the general division - 'for service to the community as the founder of the Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia, and to the development of policies, protocols, management, support and training methods to assist nursing mothers and their babies.'
The Australian Breastfeeding Association say that breastfeeding is a way to feed and nurture infants, with babies being breastfed exclusively for 6 months and continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and beyond. It educates society and support mothers, using research findings and the experiences of women. They seek to influence society to acknowledge breastfeeding as normal and important to parenting and the physical and mental health of babies, children and mothers.
The ABA has groups across Australia which hold discussion meetings for mothers. Breastfeeding education seminars are run for expectant parents; community education continues through all levels of education from pre-school to tertiary and members visits mothers in hospital to introduce the association and its services. ABA holds seminars and conferences for health professionals. Many groups hire out electric breast pumps. All meetings are run by trained volunteer breastfeeding counsellors, all of whom have successfully breastfed and have completed a training program.
On 20 March 2009, a national breastfeeding helpline was launched to improve on the previous state-level helplines. This is a free service available to everyone. The helpline operates seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day on a roster system. Trained volunteers have undertaken the ABA breastfeeding counsellor training course to qualify, and have each breastfed at least one baby for at least nine months.
Email counselling is also available through their website. Subscribers receive a bi-monthly magazine, Essence, discounts on breast pump hire and through their retail arm "Mothers Direct" (www.mothersdirect.com.au) and other benefits. The association publishes literature on breastfeeding, backed by a panel of advisers, and has a website.
All ABA counsellors and volunteers must abide by the ABA's Code of Ethics which can be seen at https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/aboutaba/coe
A Sunday Mail news story in August 2012 reported that during an Australian Breastfeeding Association class the undercover reporter was told a baby died "every 30 seconds" from formula and "Formula is a little bit like AIDS,".  The association launched an internal investigation soon afterwards and in a media statement on 29 August 2012 said the "comments reported in the media are not the view of the association and the counsellor involved has been stood down from all duties".
- Australian Breastfeeding Association website
- Lactation Resource Centre website
- Mothers Direct website
- Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace initiative
- "Australian Breastfeeding Association class told baby formula 'was like AIDS". Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- "Media Release". Retrieved 18 October 2012.