Association celebrates 40 years of supporting mums
THE Australian Breastfeeding Association Ipswich branch is celebrating 40 years of assisting mums ease into motherhood.
Families marked the major milestone for the volunteer-run group with a party at Queen's Park on Saturday.
Community educator Daniele Day said Ipswich was one of the earliest groups to branch off the national Nursing Mothers' Association founded by six Melbourne mothers in 1964.
The group was formed by Val O'Dempsey in Booval in 1973 when the term breastfeeding was considered taboo.
At the time, breastfeeding was at its lowest rate in Australian history as feminism saw more women enter the workforce. Over the years the group's membership ballooned, expanding to three branches in Booval, Brassall and Fassifern, before returning to one.
However, its core values of teaching expectant and new mums to successfully breastfeed remained.
In 2001 the Nursing Mothers' Association changed its name to the Australian Breastfeeding Association to make it more identifiable with its main purpose.
"Forty years of continuous breastfeeding support in Ipswich is pretty awesome," Mrs Day said.
"In the early days counsellors would send chain letters to women. "It's changed a lot since then. We now have email and a 24/7 hotline armed by volunteers who receive 1500 calls a week."
The group has three counsellors and two community educators who assist mums to troubleshoot while breastfeeding, and also provides a social network to more than 70 members.
"Being a new mum can be really isolating when there is so much you don't know," Mrs Day said.
"We find women get really dependent on Facebook groups and other forums rather than face-to-face contact.
"Breastfeeding is a learned skill and there are a lot of speed bumps, and if you don't know how to get around them many women just give up. The group is really good way to meet other mums in the community and great socialisation for the kids."