This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).

In 1964, it started out as six young breastfeeding mothers meeting up in their eastern suburbs lounge room. Today, the ABA is our country’s leading source of breastfeeding support, with a national 24-hour helpline (1800 686 268) and hundreds of local mothers groups so women can get that mum-to-mum support they really need when learning how to breastfeed.

It’s natural, yes, but it’s a skill that takes lots of practise until you and your baby find your way together. At St Vincent’s Private Hospital, the midwives will assist you in your early days of breastfeeding, and of course we have lactation consultants who can visit you in your rooms upon request. If you are having any troubles once you go home, you can book into our lactation clinic, which is open four days a week, and spend a day working on that technique with our international board certified lactation consultants. We encourage you to utilise our services, but for ongoing support, it might be worth checking out what ABA has to offer too.

 Breastfeeding needs a cheer squad.

If you come from a family who breastfeeds, you may have sisters, cousins or a mum or aunty who is a good support for you and to help you to persist when things feel like they are spiralling out of control. Some women have never seen a baby breastfed up close until their own bub comes along, so finding someone to talk about breastfeeding with, whether that be a friend, your local ABA counsellor, or new friends you meet at an ABA support group meeting, is vital.

There’s help out there, just ask. To contact your local group, check under services at www.breastfeeding.asn.au.