ABA celebrates 60 years

The Barwon Region group will help the Australian Breastfeeding Association celebrate 60 years. (supplied)

The Greater Geelong branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) will help celebrate the organisation’s 60th anniversary this year.

ABA founder Dr Mary Paton AM had her first child in the 1960s and struggled to breastfeed which made her think about how breastfeeding support could be given to new mothers.

She founded the Nursing Mothers’ Association (NMA) in Melbourne in 1964 with the aim to support and educate mothers on a mother-to-mother basis and to educate the community.

More local NMA groups started to form, including the second group outside of Melbourne, in the

Geelong (now known as the Barwon) Region which occurred in 1965.

The spread of groups was quite rapid and over the years there have been small groups in Central Geelong, Lara, South Barwon, Eastern Suburbs, Leopold, Drysdale, Bellarine, Ocean Grove and as far as Colac.

“Our 60th year is time to reflect and acknowledge the changes in society that have impacted mothers, babies, and families,“ ABA executive officer Victoria Marshall-Cerins.

“For over 60 years ABA has provided practical mother-to-mother peer support and up to date and evidenced-based information to mums, parents and families.”

Anniversary gatherings have been celebrated locally at 35 and 50 years when current and previous volunteers and members have caught up to reminisce.

Greater Geelong Group, looking after Barwon Region, is still operating, providing weekly gatherings in cafes, monthly pram walks, regular breastfeeding education classes and an extensive breast pump hire service which comes with counsellor support.

The Barwon Region of ABA is holding an event to celebrate the 60th year of supporting mothers and their families through their breastfeeding journeys. If you were ever a member or a volunteer with NMA or ABA, you are invited to high tea from 2pm to 5pm Sunday May 19 at Thomson Football Club.

Secure your spot by purchasing tickets online for $40 per person, which includes a welcome drink on arrival. Bookings close May 1.