Mums celebrate 50 years

Australian Breastfeeding Association assistant branch president Emilynne Capelli and counsellor Michaela Shepherdson with mothers Jessica Burton and Jack, Casey Rundle and Zoey, Shyasa Bugden and Lucille, Ashlee Chomicki and Summer, Lauren Olivari and Harrison and Lexi-Mae, and Anna Thompson. Picture: Martin Kennealey d415475
Australian Breastfeeding Association assistant branch president Emilynne Capelli and counsellor Michaela Shepherdson with mothers Jessica Burton and Jack, Casey Rundle and Zoey, Shyasa Bugden and Lucille, Ashlee Chomicki and Summer, Lauren Olivari and Harrison and Lexi-Mae, and Anna Thompson. Picture: Martin Kennealey d415475

Formerly the Nursing Mothers Association of Australia, it was founded in 1964 by six Melbourne mothers and has since helped more than three million Australian women.

‘I was acutely aware of the lack of breastfeeding information in 1962 when I was unable to adequately nurse my firstborn,’ Australian Breastfeeding Association founder Mary Paton said. ‘I thought of the hundreds of other mothers in the same situation and of the disappointments they were experiencing.’

Mary and five other young mothers met in a lounge room in suburban Melbourne to start an organisation to provide support and evidence-based information. But even naming the association proved difficult.

‘The word ‘breastfeeding’ was considered too rude by the Postmaster General (now Australia Post) to be used in the phone book and the media also refused to print it,’ Mrs Paton said.

‘The name the Nursing Mothers’ Association was decided on and it wasn’t until 2001 that the name was changed.’

South Eastern Suburbs group leader Kerry Smith said it was for families in the Victoria Park, Belmont and Canning council areas and met alternate Fridays at Rostrata Family Centre, Willetton.