Everyday Champions

Did you know at ABA we have more than 1100 wonderful volunteers who perform a wide range of roles, including counselling and education, running local groups, assisting at events and a myriad of other tasks? 

Meet some of our Everyday Champions and get to know the faces and stories behind the people helping mums like you every day.



January 2019 - Kathryn Barwick  - Essence editor  Kathryn Barwick

 

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I wear a few volunteer hats - I am a Breastfeeding Counsellor, Community Educator, Co Group Leader, Trainer, Assessor and Editor of Essence magazine. 
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined when my oldest child was a couple of months old. I was looking for a social outlet and connections, to be around other people who were breastfeeding, and to find people who were parenting in a vaguely similar way. I ticked all three boxes! 
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love the unconditional support and the connections I've made. Watching this community of amazing women and men support each other and the wider community has been inspirational. I have made friends who I hope will be lifelong friends. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband and I live on the NSW Central Coast with our two kids, aged 3 and 1 - 'full of beans' would describe them both pretty well! Seeing the world through their eyes is a delight - mostly due to the delight they take in the world. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I remember 'me time' ... must have been about 3 years ago! When I do get a moment now, I love to play the piano. I have been playing since I was about 3 years old. For me, it is a great source of both relaxation (when I'm playing well) and tension (when I'm not!). I love the way that the intricacies of a piece of music can be made to sound effortless. 
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My 3 year old loves helping to make pancakes, and is pretty much an expert now. Our 1 year old is an expert at eating them! Our usual recipe is a modified version of Jamie Oliver's simple pancakes recipe: 1 cup of flour, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk. Sometimes we stick with that, sometimes we jazz it up a bit. The kids usually put Vegemite on theirs, but jam or other toppings work just as well too. 

 


 

December 2018 - Kate Wheatley  - Assistant webmaster  Kate Wheatley

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
     My role is called 'Assistant Webmaster'.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined the ABA with my second child. I'd breastfed the first child for nearly three years but it was a challenging three years of mastitis and nurses telling me I wasn't making enough milk. I needed reassurance and I got it! (Turns out I WAS making enough milk!)
  • What do you love about ABA?
     I love the research the ABA has put into breastfeeding for the sake of mothers and babies and how available it is. I've given birth in an accredited breastfeeding friendly hospital and also in a hospital that was not breastfeeding friendly and the difference is startling - the next generation will really benefit from the increasing understanding of the role of breastfeeding and the value of breastmilk.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I've got two terrific sons, aged six and ten and a very patient husband who is good at answering the constant flow of questions that pop up at bedtime (because that's when there seems to be a real urgency to know!) - "Do sponges have brains?", "Why can't I lick my elbow?", "What makes mummy's skin so saggy?".
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Every mum responds to the question "how do you spend your me time" with the same snort :). I google boarding schools :). Actually I'm volunteering with the ABA this year as part of my me time - it's teaching me to set some boundaries on my time at last and teaching my children that I do something important outside of their everyday life. It's so welcome to have something to do that can be completed and ticked off at last, it's a wonderful feeling.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My children go through phases of living on air, only eating food that has been cut into dodecahedrons on a day that has a "T" in it, only eating peas, eating everything except peas... I've had one recipe that has adapted to nearly every phase. It started out as Annabel Karmel's Fruity Chicken Curry and morphed into a chicken and rice dish with everything cooked in the coconut cream, rice included. The vegies and fruit I add change depending on the current phase. You can press the finished concoction into molds like biscuit cutters so that food is a fun shape, serve it in banana leaves if the boys want to eat on the trampoline in summer, try eating it with chopsticks, eat it with fingers - and fire it up with chillies for daddies. In my pressure cooker it takes about 10 minutes of cooking time which is even better! The recipe the boys love to help make though is pork dumplings. I've got one of those folding dumpling makers which is completely unnecessary but also the whole attraction for a child. I make up the filling and the boys get to work with the contraption to produce more dumplings than we'd eat in a week.
 

 

November 2018 - Renee Oldenhof  - Breastfeeding Community Educator Trainee, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Group Renee Oldenhof

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m over half-way through my Breastfeeding Community Educator traineeship. Looking after our Kalgoorlie-Boulder Facebook page, and contributing to social media resources fuels my enthusiasm for connecting with families.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I received some amazing support from our local ABA group whilst pregnant and in the vital early days of motherhood. The parenting support our vibrant group offers each other remains priceless 3 years later, and will continue to be, I’m sure!
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love the nurturing circle ABA provides. It’s a HUGE circle spanning the county, with thousands of volunteers and members being there for one another through some of the toughest times.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    Our family of 4 live in Australia’s largest Outback City – Kalgoorlie. Husband Chris, son Flynn, 40kg lap-dog Maximo and I love getting dusty out in the cherished bushland, and treat ourselves to a 400km drive to the divine Esperance coast in warmer months.
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Being so far from our loved ones back in Victoria, ‘connect time’ feels like ‘me time’ – a video chat or call with Mum always brightens our day!
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Avocado on toast! We sprinkle it with sesame seeds (which Flynn has taken control of), making both a huge mess and great memories! Blueberries and pancakes are a regular, and if Flynn had the choice, he’d have pappadum, naan and samosa from our local Indian restaurant every night!



October 2018 - Belinda Chambers  - Breastfeeding Counsellor /Group Leader, Greater Geelong Belinda Chambers

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Breastfeeding Counsellor and am currently Group Leader of Greater Geelong group in Victoria. I also enjoy contributing to The Meme Team social media working group.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    After being a member for 3 years I wanted to get more involved with my wonderfully supportive local group, so I enrolled to undertake training. I was initially given my ABA membership as a gift for my baby shower. I am eternally grateful to my student-midwife cousin for gifting this to me when she wasn’t even a member herself.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    The number one thing I love is my local Greater Geelong group. They are my “village” of like-minded, kind-hearted, gentle friends. They have been a constant in my life through the challenges and changes of becoming a mum.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband, Daniel, and I have two adventurous boys, Angus (4 years) and Murphy (2 years).
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Haha! What is “me time”? My paid part-time work and volunteering are on top of the daily work of being a mum. It doesn’t leave a lot of spare time, particularly without having family living near-by to help us with the kids. I use “meme-ing” as a bit of escape-ism and a creative outlet that I can do while with the kids. I can hide the phone under the doona while lying with my little one as he goes to sleep each night!
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Spaghetti bolognaise, 5-spice pork and rice, sausages and veggies (one child of course will only eat mashed potato and corn!) and spaghetti carbonara.
 

 

July 2018 - Kimberley Seear  - Breastfeeding Counsellor Kimberley Seear

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m a breastfeeding counsellor and part of the Isolated Members North West (WA) group.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    My sister-in-law encouraged me to join ABA when I had my first baby. I started training as a breastfeeding counsellor after my second baby.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love that ABA is supportive and inclusive, and that so many great people are involved with the Association. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My two wonderful daughters are in primary school. We have a lot of fun living in Broome.
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    “Me time” involves watching the sun rise and drinking coffee. I’m usually doing work at the same time but oh well. With my family I like playing in our backyard or going to the beach. 
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Burritos where the meat just has onion, tomato sauce and cumin. (Created by my husband many years ago—he doesn’t cook much but this was a stroke of genius!)
 
 


June 2018 - Maria Holloway-Strong - Breastfeeding Counsellor for Helpline and LiveChat  Maria Holloway-Strong

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a breastfeeding counsellor, currently doing shifts on the Helpline and LiveChat.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    Since becoming a mum in 2001 I have been passionate about breastfeeding. I joined ABA in 2012 to train as a breastfeeding counsellor, after my own breastfeeding journeys had ended.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love how organised and professional it is, I LOVE the women I have met in my 6 years with the ABA and I feel privileged that, through the ABA, I can support families with breastfeeding. I also love that I can continue to be an active member of the ABA despite currently living overseas.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have three children: Bethan who is aged 17, Matthew who is aged 14 and Meredydd, who is 10. Meredydd was born in Perth, WA, while my other two children were born in England. We are originally English but became Australian citizens on Australia Day 2013. We also have a BIG golden retriever called Idris.
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I really enjoying being out in the natural world, so I enjoy walking my dog and going on walks with friends and families.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My kids' favourite recipe ever is from Anna Gare's recipe book 'Eat in'. It is smoked salmon fusilli, with broccolini, lemon, chives and dill. This is the meal they ask for when celebrating, needing comfort or having friends over. It fits every occasion and is always delicious. When our former WA Branch President visited us over here in England, the children insisted we prepare this meal for her and her husband. It was so lovely to see them and feel the arms of the ABA stretch across the globe!!
 

 



May 2018 - Angela Murray - Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Knox group in Melbourne and Communications Coordinator for the state volunteers conference 2018Angela Murray

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a Breastfeeding Counsellor with the Knox group in Melbourne. I do a lot of the admin tasks for our group and region. I was the Communications Coordinator of our state volunteers conference this year and will be the Conference Coordinator for the 2019 conference. This year I'm also hoping to start doing hospital visits with new mums at our local hospital.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    My mum was a member of 'Nursing Mothers’ when I was born and joined me as a member when she found out I was pregnant with my first - so about 8 weeks along! I started going to meetings just before my eldest was born 6 years ago. I began training after having my second child and have been qualified for two and a half years.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love going to the weekly meetings with my group, I often describe it as a playgroup for mums! I have found a lot of parenting support and information over the years from the other parents that attend, and I've found being able to see children older than mine so helpful to know what stages are coming up for me. Now I like helping the newer mums with breastfeeding and parenting support.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne with my husband and our two boys aged 6 and 4. They attend a local school and kinder, and I'm just now looking at picking up some work relief teaching when I have time. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I like to get a good series of books and read them all at once, preferably in bed with some hot chocolate and a snack! We like camping and the boys like being outside. So, I often take my book down to the local skate park while they play.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My mum gave me the NMAA Cooks red book when I moved out of home, and our family favourite is 693 - Porcupines. These are meatballs with rice cooked in tomato soup. We also love the Simplicity Chocolate Cake 1409 and 1501 Biscuit Mixture. I often make extra of both and freeze them. 
 
 

 

April 2018 - Sky Mykyta - Community educator and Regional Representative for the Westgate Region of Melbourne  Sky Mykyta

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m a community educator and Regional Representative for the Westgate Region of Melbourne, having just stood down as Group Leader of Western Melbourne. My focus is on social media, driving membership and health professional engagement. I’ve previously been a director on the ABA Board and a national social media coordinator. 
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined around 9 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and would need support - it just seemed the logical thing to do! I was immediately welcomed into my local group and very quickly I decided to start training to be a community educator. I’m a lawyer by profession and have previously taught at a university, so I was drawn to education and advocacy. 
  • What do you love about ABA?
    When I first joined ABA the thing I loved most was the access to more experienced mothers. While I adored my new mums group, we were all as clueless as each other! At ABA meetings I could say “my baby wakes 6 times a night and breastfeeds a gazillion times a day, is that normal?” and a chorus of wonderful women would answer “Yes!” I remember going to an evening meeting when Arlo was about 3 months old and a lovely ABA member held my baby while I had a hot tea and joined the discussion. It was bliss. Now the thing I love most is still the support of other members and volunteers and especially the chance to share my experience and knowledge with new mums in my area. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My partner Jamie and I have two kids - Arlo is 8 and our daughter Ionna (Noni) is 5. She has just started school so it’s been an eventful few months! We also have two fur babies - Kitty Amin, our 3-legged feline dictator, and a gorgeous spoodle called Bok Choy. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I am an avid reader, so I love a day spent on the couch with a great book - those days don’t seem to happen much though! I love going to see live music with my husband. And probably my most favourite thing is to spend time with a bunch of my favourite women, plotting how to solve the world’s problems over a nice glass of wine. 
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Spaghetti bolognese cooked by Gigi (grandma) is the absolute winner in my house. My daughter loves sautéed kale (really!) and my son loves grilled salmon (except when he doesn’t!)


 


 

March 2018 - Helen CainBreastfeeding counsellor, community educator, trainer, assessor and shared role of Victorian Training Manager  Helen Cain

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I have been a counsellor since 2001, and am now also a community educator, trainer and assessor. I share the role of Victorian Training Manager with Julie Taylor. 
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    My first contact with the then Nursing Mothers’ Association was when I was about 12 and my mother visited the local group leader for help with using a supply line to keep breastfeeding my younger brother. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I remembered this and thought joining NMAA would be a good thing. I started attending meetings after a counsellor came and facilitated a discussion on breastfeeding at my new mums group. I knew I had found my people! 
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love supporting mums to achieve their breastfeeding goals. I cherish the friendships I have formed with strong women who share my desire to help other new mums. I gain a lot of satisfaction from guiding and supporting trainees from their first enquiries about what volunteering with ABA entails, right through to them qualifying and beyond.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    Stephen and I have 4 big children – they are all bigger than me, though I do admit that that is not a particularly high bar… my eldest, Nicola, 20, has moved out of home and is working, living with her boyfriend and ‘adulting’ admirably. Felix is 18 and an apprentice carpenter – he says he will be at home for many years still, as living costs are much cheaper that way. Beth, 17,  and Patrick, 13, are both in secondary school. Dance figures largely in their lives – whether as a favourite pastime and an excellent way to keep fit and active, or as a future career, they haven’t yet decided. I’m really enjoying this time, watching my children become independent functional members of society. I must have got something right in my parenting!
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    In my spare time I like to read, an eclectic mix of whatever catches my eye. I also enjoy walking the dog Max and I fit in a coffee and chat with my ABA buddy Jacinta a couple of times a week.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
  • Our long-standing favourite recipe that all my children will eat, is pumpkin soup. I developed a minimalist recipe, so it’s my go-to meal when I need to cook something quickly or don’t feel like concentrating on cooking. One butternut pumpkin, peeled, chopped, cooked in just enough water to cover it, throw in a packet of chicken noodle soup mix towards the end – or in recent years, some vegan stock powder and soup noodles, to cater for the vegan members of the family – then add some sort of cream or milk and mash. Can be blended if desired, but if you only mash it from when your children are young, they think that’s the way it should be. A more recent favourite is a vegan potato salad with lots of chopped raw vegies/herbs, and a ‘mayonnaise’ dressing made with blended cashews. No matter how much of this I make there are never any leftovers!

 



February 2018 - Anngie Everitt - Breastfeeding counsellor for the Darwin Palmerston and Rural Groups Anngie Everitt

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a Breastfeeding Counsellor up in Darwin for the Palmerston and Rural groups and also volunteers as the breast pump hire role for the Palmerston group. 
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I got involved with ABA after calling the Helpline a few times with my second child who I was having a few feeding issues with. I was always overwhelmed by the empathy and support I felt when I called. The reassurance the women on the end of the phone gave me filled me with confidence and hope at times when I had none. So once I got on top of things after a few months I decided I wanted to give back and become a counsellor myself, so I joined ABA and attended my first meeting,  expressed interest in training and the rest is history. 
  • What do you love about ABA?
    I love the people I have met through ABA. They are all kind, generous and wise advocates, who ultimately just want to help support families in meeting their breastfeeding goals and normalise breastfeeding within the wider community and of course there is all the babies to cuddle. I often find meeting and chatting with new mums an emotional experience, as it generally transports me right back to that same stage and time in my life and often the challenges that came with it.  Being involved in ABA provides me with emotional and rewarding experiences for which I am very grateful. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have been blessed to be surrounded by gorgeous boys. I have a wonderful partner who is extremely supportive of the work I do with ABA and I have 3 sons, Henry (8), Archie (4) and Benjamin (2.5). We returned to Darwin after being away for 8 years and feel right back at home in the humidity and the mould! I am a Registered Nurse and have started working in health research which I find fascinating. I am now quietly dreaming and hatching up ideas for some breastfeeding related research proposals, wish me luck! . 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I enjoy running when I get the opportunity for some ‘me time’ and I am fortunate that my partner is also supportive of my running.  I have found it challenging over the past 12 months acclimatising to the weather and have fluctuating levels of motivation dependent of the time of year, but I’m now at the point where I have just accepted it’s ridiculously hot and decided if I want to be a runner in Darwin, I just need to suck it up and get out there. I am hoping to do a couple of interstate events this year and enjoy the milder temperatures. 
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My kids' favourite recipes changes frequently, what was a hit one week can quickly become offensive to serve to my children the following week... please tell me I’m not alone with this scenario? But Mexican wraps is guaranteed winner and pea and mint risotto is also 95% guaranteed to be a success (for now anyway). I also make a blondie slice that my eldest refers to as ‘Sloppy Slice’, and despite his unfavourable labelling he loves it and requests it frequently. 

 



January 2018 - Sari Earl - Breastfeeding counsellor and Onkaparinga Group SA leader  Sari Earl

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m a Breastfeeding counsellor and an Onkaparinga Group SA leader.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    When I had my first newborn I was determined to breastfeed as I felt this was the best thing for my baby. I remember receiving so many 'helpful' tips from friends and family that just wasn't helpful at all such as 'if you give her formula she will sleep!'. I started using the ABA website to get some professional advice and then found out about the traineeships to become a counsellor. I had always wanted to volunteer so it was a perfect way for me to educate myself and be able to help people by becoming a counsellor!
  • What do you love about ABA?
    The community, the support, the information they provide, everything really!
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have a wonderful supportive husband Daniel and we’re parents to two-and-a-half-year-old Evie Ray who is very strong willed and challenging at times but amazing and a five-and-a-half-year-old Elka Jade. We live in a beautiful costal suburb in South Australia called Maslin Beach. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I like to go for walks along the beach as this is where I do my best thinking, or get a pedicure mostly for the massage chair!
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    At the end of each week I make a big pasta bake with an organic pasta and sauce, turkey mince and I fill it with all my leftover veggies which I grate or chop finely. Evie loves it!

 



December 2017 - Amy Harrison - Breastfeeding Counsellor, BEC presenter and Facebook administrator Amy Harrison

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m a Breastfeeding Counsellor, BEC presenter and occasional Facebook administrator.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    My husband and I went to a BEC and it was the single most useful thing we did in preparation for our baby. We’ve had a beautifully easy breastfeeding experience overall in part because of the knowledge and skills we gained from the BEC and the ongoing support of ABA. I went to my first ABA meeting when pregnant and volunteered at expos. My friend Mary was studying to be a Breastfeeding Counsellor and encouraged me to consider it because at that time our local group was on hiatus due to lack of trained volunteers. This year I returned to paid work as a teacher, I'm currently running playgroups for families with children 0-4 years so Breastfeeding Counsellor is another set of skills and knowledge I draw on when supporting parents with young children.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    The fact that it’s a national organisation with a simple yet important focus. I most enjoy face-to-face counselling and I’m very interested in the advocacy work we can be involved in. This year Mary and I submitted an ABA response to the NT whole-of-government early years strategy and we're hoping to organise a training session for early childhood educators about how to support breastfeeding in their services. I like presenting the BECs because I know how valuable it was for us as new parents, there's always lots of great questions and discussions from the participants and it's great to know we're helping people set up for breastfeeding success right from the start.
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I live in Palmerston, NT with my husband Duncan and 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter Isabelle. I have a very supportive mum and dad who love spending time with their first grandchild whenever they can, but like many people we don't have family up here so the friendships I've made through ABA and other mum's groups has been invaluable.
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Read - whether it’s a novel, non-fiction or researching a topic on the internet.  
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    We followed the baby-led weaning philosophy so Isabelle will try anything and usually eats whatever we’re having. She loves bolognaise and mango.

 


 


November 2017 - Michelle Reid - Trainee Breastfeeding Counsellor, breastpump hire officer for ABA group Onkaparinga and administration for SAINT social media pageMichelle Reid

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a trainee Breastfeeding Counsellor, breastpump hire officer for my local ABA group Onkaparinga and also administration for SAINT social media page.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I first became involved with ABA after using the helpline when my second son was approximately four months old, I always knew about the ABA and was meaning to join as a member. I was particularly keen to study to become an ABA counsellor so I could help other mothers. My local group is about a 50-minute drive and when the time was right I joined and started attending my local group meetings where I met some lovely other trainees. It has been lovely for us to all to support each other through our training journeys.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    It’s my passion to help support mothers on their breastfeeding journeys. I love all the support and information ABA gives to many mothers for them to make informed decisions as there is far too much conflicting and misinformation out there. ABA is such a lovely and warm place to meet lots of new people and everyone is so supportive of one another. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    I'm from Scotland and have been in Australia for nearly eleven years, I moved here to be with my wonderful and supportive husband Daniel. We have two beautiful children, our daughter Ellie is three years old and our son Jack is two years old and breastfeeding. We also have two beagles Benny and Charlie. We live on the Fleurieu Peninsula in a small town called Victor Harbor in South Australia and we love to go on holidays with our caravan, and spend time outdoors. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to have a relaxing bath, wander round the shops, walking and enjoy the quietness. At the moment my favourite ‘me time’ thing to do is study as I'm nearing the end of my course.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My kid’s favourite recipes are my husband’s homemade spaghetti Bolognese sauce packed with grated vegetables and pasta, fruit and vegetable ice blocks and Tamar valley yoghurts. My daughter loves her homemade pancakes and my son absolutely loves bananas. 
 
 


October 2017 - Megan Fox - Breastfeeding Counsellor and Community Educator, Group Leader for the Burley Griffin group in Canberra, Regional Representative for the 13 groups across the ACT and Southern NSW and a Trainer and Assessor.Megan Fox

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Breastfeeding Counsellor and Community Educator, Group Leader for the Burley Griffin group in Canberra, Regional Representative for the 13 groups across the ACT and Southern NSW and a Trainer and Assessor.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    When my first son was 5 weeks old I saw an advertisement in the community page of the local paper for a group meeting. I was recovering from a bout of mastitis and struggling with a baby who wasn’t doing what the books said he should be. I went to the meeting and found my village! 8 years later I’m still here.
  • What do you love about ABA?
    The wonderful people who make up my ABA family.  
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband, Chris, and I have two sons – Hayden, who is 8, and Alexander rapidly approaching his 5th birthday. We share our home with our dear old dog, a budgie, two fish, three chickens and a collection of lizards, butterflies and other creatures. 
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I have always loved handcrafts, so spending time in my sewing room is my favourite ‘me time’ escape. I’m also very interested in family history research, so trips to the National Library are on the me time list too.
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    We have a few food allergies to work around, but there are definitely two recipes that stand out. Both would eat our homemade bolognaise sauce at every meal if I’d let them – they still like it even though they now know it has carrots and zucchini in it. The other favourite is our “Nothing” cake – an allergy friendly chocolate cake that has “nothing” (no dairy, no egg, no gluten, no nuts) in it which is amazingly delicious.

 


 

September 2017 - Andrea Wild - Breastfeeding Counsellor, Group Leader, Treasurer, breast pump hire officer for Gungahlin Canberra Group and Mentor Andrea Wild

  • What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a breastfeeding counsellor with ABA and the group leader, treasurer and one of the breast pump hire officers for my local group - Gungahlin in Canberra. I also mentor some local mums who are training as breastfeeding counsellors and community educators with ABA.
  • How did you get involved with ABA?
    I started my counsellor training with ABA when my second baby was about 6 months old and due to suffering a sort of road rage about breastfeeding misinformation, it took me ages to complete my training. 
  • What do you love about ABA?
    The thing I like most about ABA is the organisation's commitment to evidence! I was so impressed by this when I had my babies and so grateful to have access to accurate information about breastfeeding, that I wanted to be part of it. 
  • Tell us a bit about your family.
    My family is my two boys Finn and Timmy, now 8 and 6; my third child - I mean husband - Richard, now 49; my parents; and my siblings, their partners and their four littles ones, so far.   
  • When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    In my "me time" I try to lie on the couch and not move, at which I am highly unsuccessful. I also listen to podcasts about science, history and ideas. 
  • What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My boys like my muffins. I started out with a basic muffin recipe and am experimenting with how far I can deviate from it and still call them muffins - a profound philosophical question. Ever tried grated carrot in place of half the sugar? It works! In fact, I've just overcooked a batch while typing this. Another favourite is my smoothies, with secret ingredients like salad vegetables and bran. If only they'd eat normal meals!  

 



 August 2017 - Ann Whitney - Breastfeeding Counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a breastfeeding counsellor in the Isolated Members North West group and we cover a massive area of Western Australia, and my nearest fellow volunteer is two and a half hours drive away. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    Through the online forum when I was exclusively expressing for my oldest child, I joined up as a member when he was born six weeks premature because I wanted to buy the booklet about feeding your premature baby. There was no local group at the time so didn’t really get any more involved than that. I re-joined in each of my subsequent pregnancies and joined up to train when I finally breastfed by fourth baby beyond six months. I wanted to be able to provide support to mothers locally, as I felt this was so lacking in my previous breastfeeding experiences. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    The feeling of finding people that are welcoming and supportive without being judgemental about my choices as a parent and knowing that although there is a network of (mainly) women working together towards a common goal, despite the fact I very rarely see any of them. Now that my kids are a bit bigger, I love that I get the opportunity to see and cuddle babies every week!
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I live with my husband of nine years and our four children, a 7 year old boy, 5 year old boy girl twins and our 3 year old girl who is going to have mummy mulky forever apparently! We do a lot of camping when it isn’t too hot, swimming when it is and my husband and kids all race BMX while I carry the water.  
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    At the moment I have to get up at 5am to head to the gym to lift weights, it would be nice to have the opportunity to do that some other time in the day! I am also knitting at the moment, a fairly useless past time where I live but I find it very calming and I love to sit down with a book uninterrupted. 
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    I pre make lots of fruit and choc chip muffins at the start of each term and freeze them to make the getting to school and work mornings smoother. I was asking the kids the other day what they would like for morning tea instead, perhaps something they had seen in someone else’s lunch box and my oldest informed me that actually everyone else is jealous of his morning tea! Their favourite dinners are the usual lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise.  


July 2017 - Glenda Grove - Breastfeeding Counsellor, Group Leader Gold Coast North Group and previously a Trainee Adviser Glenda Grove

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    For the past three years I have been co-group leader of the Gold Coast North group of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.  I carry out this very rewarding role with Sarah.  We love leading monthly discussion meetings on breastfeeding at the Northern end of the beautiful Gold Coast.  We work well together as a team, as we both take turns leading the discussions, and Sarah looks after much of the social media in our group.  We have built a cohesive group of mothers who keep returning to our get-togethers and enjoy each other’s company and watching each other’s babies grow and thrive, whilst continually growing their own breastfeeding knowledge and skills. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I first became involved with Australian Breastfeeding Association in 1980.  My little three month old breastfed son Jules, now thirty-seven, cut two bottom teeth and we had a little biting incident one evening.  I phoned my local counsellor, Jane Turner, and we talked about some solutions for a very sore breast, and how to avoid any more little bites.  Jane invited me to a local meeting and I went along and found so much support and information.  I was hooked immediately and could not wait to go back to the following meeting.  I had found a group of like-minded women who I wanted very much to be friends with.  I continued to travel up and down the Gold Coast strip to many meetings over the following years.  I held the role of the hirer of the reel to reel film which our group hired out.  Then I was invited to train as a counsellor.  I was so honoured that my group thought I was capable of being a counsellor that I gladly accepted the invitation.  I was a counsellor and Trainee Adviser in Townsville for twenty years. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    There are so many things I love about the Australian Breastfeeding Association.  Firstly, the warm fuzzy feelings I get when I am on the Helpline roster and I feel as if I have genuinely helped another mother to feel more confident about her breastfeeding role.  I have gained so much in learning opportunities over the thirty-seven years of my involvement.  I have attended workshops and conferences, and been to Hobart, Brisbane and Melbourne to attend International Conferences.  I have listened to eminent guest speakers on breastfeeding from all over the world.  Recently I won a registration to an outstanding e-conference with twenty free International lectures on breastfeeding.  I would have to say that the many friendships I have made over the years are a shining beacon and a wonderful legacy of my years of being a volunteer.  Facebook has reunited me with many women I have known for over thirty years.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have been married to my husband John for 38 years this month.  We had four beautiful children, two boys and two girls.  Three of my children are now in their thirties, however, unfortunately our fourth baby Armelle was stillborn at 38 weeks gestation in 1996.  The amazing support of my family, and my ABA family, helped us through this very dark time.  I am the proud Grandmother of six Grandchildren, Aidan, Lola, Chloe, Tristan, Jonah and baby Jayse, who unfortunately died from a heart defect at three months.  John and I are getting close to retirement age but I am a very happy volunteer, and assist in two of my Grandchildren’s classrooms each week.  I spend quite a lot of time helping my Mother Ethel who will be 96 in December. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    When I get some ‘me time’ my favourite thing to do is to create beautiful sewn bunting in various designs, colours and patterns.  I didn’t have a sewing machine, however a lovely ABA friend offered to give me one when I told her of my plans.  I am working on developing this little home business slowly.  I am proud to have some of my bunting displayed at a hugely popular local café in my area.  I have learnt so much already and continually strive to improve my product and promotion of my bunting project.  As life settles into retirement John and I would love to pursue more travel to places like Lord Howe Island and New Zealand.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    I do love to cook and once wanted to be a Home Economics teacher.  My kids favourite recipes are my sausage, gravy and mash casserole, passed on to me by an ABA friend Deb, my spinach quiche from the red ABA cookbook, savoury mince pie, lemon delicious pudding, sago plum pudding and baked rice pudding.

 June 2017 - Caryn McWhirter - WA volunteer, Bc ; CE ; GL ; Trainer and Assessor 

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a volunteer Community Educator and Counsellor and with my local group I am the Group Leader, Treasurer, Facebook Administrator and Raffle Coordinator. I am also a Trainer and Assessor and I am one of the Assistant WA branch Presidents. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I remember when I was young I would go to the local hospital to visit new mums. When I was pregnant with my first, my mum gave me an ABA gift membership and I went along to a few meetings.  Then after I'd had my 2nd child, I was living in a different area and I received a welcome letter from a counsellor that I had known since mum was involved in ABA. She hadn't realised it was me when she sent the letter. So, after going back to group meetings I decided to volunteer. The first thing I volunteered with was a fundraising event to get a local counsellor to a national conference. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    The friendships and support that go across generations.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband Dale and I have 4 children, three boys aged 9 years, 7 years and 4 years and our little girl who is 15 months old. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to read books and catch up with friends.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Spaghetti bolognaise, tacos and homemade pizza. They
     like to mix together 1 cup of self raising flour and 1 cup of Greek or natural yoghurt and then roll them out to make the base and then add their own individual toppings.. 

May 2017 - Rebecca Mortlock - Practicum Mentor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I have been a breastfeeding counsellor and on helpline since 2004, I have held the roles of Assessor, Group Leader, Email Counselling, Treasurer and Doula. I currently hold the roles of Practicum Mentor and help moderate the New Counsellor chat group. I love working with our newer counsellors as they take on the wonderful role of supporting mothers and families on helpline. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined ABA seeking other mums that were breastfeeding in 2001, I took on some group jobs like Librarian. We had a regional about ABA coming up so I let my group leader know I was keen and next thing I was on my first assignment. I completed my training quickly as I wanted to complete it before my training baby made his way into the world. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    That we support mothers all over Australia and are just a phone call away. I am always amazed as I speak about ABA with mothers of older children, how vividly they can recall having contacted helpline with their young babies.  We should never underestimate the impact our services have on the lives of families.  I also love that I have formed wonderful friendships within ABA, even though our children are all grown up.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have three boys 12,15 and 16 as well as my husband. The cat and the dog are both girls though and even up the female numbers for me. We spend lots of time in our car as we travel to sport and band activities. My neighbours probably think I am an Uber driver. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Shopping and drinking coffee, I also have been doing some genealogy so will often stay up keeping myself busy online.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Anything that is cooked! Teenage boys can eat, eat and eat some more. We regularly use the slow cooker though as busy schedules after school and starving children mean I need to keep a constant supply of food ready. 

April 2017 - Kate Erickson - Community Educator

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Community Educator with the ABA. I have been a bit quiet on the volunteer front this year as I have started a new job, but am hoping to get involved with some Breastfeeding Education Classes later this year.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    My mum was a member of the NMAA and so I was keen to continue the family tradition. I joined when I was pregnant and we went to a Breastfeeding Education Class. Then I found our local group when Aurora was about seven months old. I started training to be an Educator not long after that as I wanted to be able to give back to such a wonderful organisation. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    The support and welcome you get from the local group - which I felt when I first joined, but experienced again when we moved to Canberra.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband and I have one daughter, Aurora, who has just turned six. We lived in Sydney when we first met, but have moved to Canberra, which we are enjoying immensely.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    My most favourite thing to do is to curl up with a hot cuppa and a good book. Preferably in a sunny spot or else next to a warm fire…particularly as the nights are getting colder!
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My daughter loves crumbed schnitzel (which we do with panko for her and almond meal for me Smile and gluten free chocolate chip biscuits (for us both!)

Eleanor KippenMarch 2017 - Eleanor Kippen - Breastfeeding Counsellor, previously Group Leader and training to become a Community Educator

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m a breastfeeding counsellor and a trainer and assessor. I’m also working towards the CE role, with one unit left to go. I’ve just handed over the Group Leadership for Peninsula Group, as well as working on the Facebook group and page for the Mornington Peninsula Region. As well as odds and ends as they come up and I have time - as many of us do!
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    My mum has been an active counsellor for over 30 years, so it was something I always knew was there for when I had children. I was in Alice Springs when I had my first son and went to my first ABA meeting as an adult. I realised after about 6 months of maternity leave I didn’t really want to go back to work just yet, but I did want to do more than just hang out at home so I started training. It was wonderful working with the Alice Springs community and Sue Morrish who was the group leader at the time. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the inclusive nature of the groups, the way you can travel from Melbourne to Alice Springs to Perth and find a group of women who are happy to meet you where you are at with parenting and breastfeeding. I was also quite active on the ABA forum for a long time, and the community of women on there, the support, friendship and welcome is amazing. 
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    After living for 10 years in Alice Springs, my husband Paul and I made the move to the Mornington Peninsula to be closer to my family as our children grow bigger. We have 3 sons - Jake who is navigating school, Tom who has just begun kinder and Oliver who is learning about childcare as I have just returned to study after 4 years of not working.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to read and catch up over coffee with friends and family.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    They have been loving home-made ice-cream in the warm March weather Melbourne has had, but they also love anything with rice as the base (rice porridge, fried rice, risotto, etc).

Kirsten TannenbaumFebruary 2017 - Kirsten Tannenbaum OAM - Breastfeeding Counsellor, WA Branch PR Officer, Group Projects Coordinator, Regional Representative for the South Metro Region of WA

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am the WA branch Public Relations Officer; Regional Representative for the South Metro Region of WA; I coordinate the Group Projects for the branch; I coordinate the ordering of breast pump kits and booklets for breast pump hiring, including coordination of credit card charges for breast pump hiring; I assist with raffle coordination and am the Raffle Permit Holder; I do rosters on the Helpline; and many odd jobs that need doing. I am also group leader of the Applecross group and mentor two trainees. I also knit the ‘knitted breasts’ which is a group project run by one of the WA groups, and volunteer at the Health Professional Seminars in March.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I first joined NMAA when I was pregnant with my first child in 1982. After the birth of my first child, I needed support and information and became involved with my local group, Applecross. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the contact I have with so many inspiring and dedicated women with whom I work as well as the wonderful new mums with whom I have contact on email, on the phone and at our local group meetings. Seeing how mums become more confident in their new roles is one of the most gratifying experiences for me.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I am married to Dennis, a psychiatrist, and we have three children, James, who is 34 years old, Jeremy, who is 30 years old, and Annabel is 26 years old. We have one-year old grand-daughter, Zoë, who is James’ daughter. We also have two dogs, a Labradoodle, Rosie, and a Cavoodle, Lilly, as well as Lucy, the cat.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I enjoy knitting, gardening, cooking and reading, walking my two dogs and going to pilates twice a week.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    They all enjoy the Simplicity Chocolate Cake from NMAA Cooks; and beef stroganoff. It’s never been easy to get everyone to enjoy the same things!

Pixie EndacottJanuary 2017 - Pixie Endacott - Breastfeeding Counsellor, Group Leader Western Victoria Group and Community Educator 

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I’m not sure if I qualify for “everyday” champion, but here is what I do in ABA.  Many of these roles I have been doing for many years, as I have been a breastfeeding counsellor for 40 years. As soon as I qualified I started a new group in Sydney’s inner west – Concord Group, (which has gone through several names changes), and then Annandale Group, even closer to the city. I now live in Portland, in South-West Victoria, and have recently been the Group Leader of Western Victoria Group, which I ran as a virtual group mostly by email and Facebook. I am a community educator as well, thoroughly relishing telling radio listeners on a community radio station all about breastfeeding and ABA. This is a weekly one-hour program – talk, interlaced with music (all sorts) which has been run by Portland Group counsellors and community educators for 25 years - I have been involved for about 12 years. In Portland Group, I am the Coordinator of the Feeding Cues Group Project, which I started up, with the photographic help from a counsellor, now retired, in Swan Hill Group, seeing the huge need for images of what a feeding cue is.  One of the great things I love doing is being a trainer and assessor – I have seen ABA/NMAA go through huge changes in this area.  Working with health professionals outside ABA is also a passion of mine, and in the last four years our Group and I have worked heavily on breastfeeding advocacy, with the wonderful result that last year Portland District Hospital became the first hospital in Australia to offer gift ABA memberships to all women who booked in antenatally in 2016. They have just decided to continue this in 2017. There have been lots of other things I have been involved in, but in past years.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    ABA was NMAA (Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia) when I was first told about it. When my daughter, Claire was 5 weeks old, I began to panic that I was losing my milk.  I remembered what my friend had said and found NMAA in the Sydney phone book – three names were listed (for the whole of Sydney!!), so I rang one and the world of breastfeeding and NMAA was revealed.  Such understanding, such reassurance, such information.  And she asked if I would like more information about NMAA, as I could be sent this. Wow! I got the package, I joined. I was rung up by the Group Leader who invited me to the next group meeting. I went (dropping biscuits in the drive as I arrived); only three of us there, but they wanted a bulletin editor so I volunteered. The rest is history. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the huge range of people I have met, and the friendships I have made – throughout Australia. In ABA you might not have seen someone for 15 years, but you pick right up from where you left off. I love the fact that we are inclusive, listening people, we are on the same wavelength about breastfeeding and parenting.  ABA has taught me many things, probably being empathetic most of all. I love that this is an organisation that started from nothing but a vision, but given structure, a Code of Ethics, and commitment, see what we have done. I love the fact that there is an ABA framework in which I fit, so I can use the knowledge and skills I have to help women with their breastfeeding. This is a very powerful thing.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband Bob has been an amazing support.  When he drives me to training meetings, he is welcomed in as part of the ABA family, too. I have two adult children, Richard and Claire. Claire has three children (22, 14, 2) and is looking forward to No 4 this year. She’s very good at working and breastfeeding. Richard and Claire grew up with me counselling, coming to group meetings, conferences, gallivanting round NSW doing ABA training. I’m very proud that Richard is excellent at listening, problem solving and mediation at work (blokey/mostly male workmates).  
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I read a lot.  I play the piano, so any free time I have is mostly taken up with piano practice.  At night, I enjoy TV time - detective series, even if they are umpteenth repeats, and films of classic novels/plays. 
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    I’ll pass on this one.  But I must say that granddaughter No 2 (May) loves anything I cook.  

Suen Yee ChewDecember 2016 - Suen Yee Chew - Social Media Administrator

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a social media administrator for Instagram.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined ABA when my son was 2 months old. I received an email from ABA about volunteer positions, and I applied for the volunteer role of Social Media Administrator, because I wanted to contribute to the association in some way, and social media is right up my alley!
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    Being a first-time mother, I love the support I get from other mothers during the ABA group meetings and the information I received from breastfeeding counsellors during online chats. Prior to joining ABA, I felt lost and overwhelmed because I didn't know whether or not I was doing the right thing! Everyone I had contact with in the ABA have been empathic and understanding, and I feel reassured. 
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I met my husband, Kuan Tatt, in my third year at university. 10 years later, we got married. Our son, Xian Yang, was born in March this year. Motherhood has shown me a different perspective in life. I am enjoying every day with Xian Yang, and learning to take things in stride and to not stress too much. I am very blessed to have a loving and understanding husband, parents, and siblings who have helped me navigate through the early months of motherhood. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to read whatever I can get my hands on, even if it's just the packaging label on the wet wipes when I'm feeding Xian Yang! Most usually, I love a good crime fiction by the likes of Ruth Rendell or Patricia Cornwell.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    So far, I've mixed pureed strawberries through yoghurt, and Xian Yang seemed to enjoy that! Ask me this question in a year's time, I would probably have a few tried-and-tested recipes under my belt by then!

Jodie BlakeNovember 2016 - Jodie Blake - Group Leader, Katherine NT & Breastfeeding Counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am Group Leader of Katherine Group NT and a Breastfeeding Counsellor.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined ABA when my first daughter was a couple of months old, in search of some mum/bub friends. I became a volunteer when I was pregnant with my third child because I felt that I had found my tribe and wanted to give back some of the support and wisdom that I had received.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the feeling I get after helping a new mum, or getting our picture in the paper, or being a part of an interesting meet up. I love the newborn cuddles. I love the friends I have made all over the country, no matter where I move, I will have instant friends with ABA. 
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband is Egan, we met in the NAVY and he is now in the RAAF. He is very quiet (the opposite to me) but has always been my biggest support with breastfeeding, training - everything. Our eldest Rhys will be 11 in December.... ELEVEN!!! Lainey is our very firey 8 year old and Kaeden is our surprise baby, he is nearly 3. If we didn't have him I probably wouldn't have gone back to ABA and then trained. My husband has a massive horse 'Dog' who was a cute puppy found in a moment of weakness and we have seven poultry, four of which are broody so not currently earning their keep in eggs!!! 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I stay up late and enjoy the quiet of the house. I usually watch Home and Away on catch up TV or Facebook. Mostly Facebook! 
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    They love my cheesey mite scrolls and I can't go wrong with spaghetti bolognaise, even if we had it two days ago. Mango sorbet and chocolate custard are regular desserts.

Amanda MulcahyOctober 2016 - Amanda Mulcahy - Group Leader, Springfield & Surrounds Group and Breastfeeding Counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am group leader of Springfield and Surrounds Group in Queensland and a Breastfeeding Counsellor.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined ABA when my 1st daughter was a couple of months old, in search of some mum/bub friends. I became a volunteer when I was pregnant with my 3rd child because I felt that I had found my tribe and wanted to give back some of the support and wisdom that I had received.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the friends that I've made through ABA.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have 3 noisy, lively children, 7, 5 and 3 years old, 2 cats and a partner that is equally as noisy as the kids!
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I like to read when/if I get some time to myself. 
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Gingerbread is a favourite in our house - fun, easy and delicious! And Taco Tuesday, the only meal of the week that always gets completely eaten!
 


Lynn NgSeptember 2016 - Lynn Ng - Community Educator (CE), Breastfeeding Counsellor (BC) and TAE trainee

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a CE, BC and TAE trainee. We have just moved to the UK, so I've stopped Helpline and volunteering with my local group and helping at expos, all of which I miss doing! Currently I help out with the Proofreading Group, and do a regular shift on email counselling. Like most volunteers I've taken on just about every group role, except manage the money.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I received a gift membership from my best friend, and I started going to meetings to meet local mums who breastfeed, because my MCHN mother's group had only 2 breastfeeding mums and I was unlucky in that the group didn't gel. I loved my first meeting, and started attending regularly, and my group leader asked me to train. The rest is history!
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    Where do I start? The sisterhood, the oxytocin rush when we all get together, being part of a group of proactive, intelligent mums who are generous with their time and talent. Helping mums succeed with breastfeeding on their terms. The list goes on.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I met my husband Peter at Uni in 2000, and we've been happily married for 11 years. I credit him with starting me on my breastfeeding journey because he would not let me give up in the tough early days. Together, we have 2 kids: a 7yo daughter; and a 3yo son who is currently breastfeeding.  We also have a cat, Oscar, who was born in Texas, adopted by us in Mexico City, and moved with us back to Melbourne. Unfortunately for practical reasons and his age, he hasn't joined us in the UK, but our friends who are looking after him adore him, and we miss him terribly.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Read, and have a cuppa while it's hot. I also love fossicking in op shops for the odd bargain. If I can grab my husband, I love wandering around the city, going to museums and galleries, catching a performance or movie somewhere, and grabbing a bite at one of our favourite places to eat.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    We love pumpkin soup, pizza, and CAKE! I also have an amazing chicken soup recipe that I love making, it uses a whole chicken and I like to send some round to friends who have just had a baby as it's nourishing and if they have other kids the kids love it too. 
 

  

Jessica EdquistAugust 2016 - Jessica Edquist - Regional Representative, Group Leader & Breastfeeding Counsellor 

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I have several different volunteer roles in ABA. I'm the regional representative, which means I co-ordinate all the local groups and provide support for ABA volunteers across my region - our local groups have just this year merged into one group for administrative purposes, but we still run meetings at five different venues. I run most of the meetings at one of those venues, so I'm still like a local gorup leader too. Like many breastfeeding counsellors I do regular shifts on the Breastfeeding Helpline. This year I have also taken on breast pump hire, which is another great opportunity to really help mums and babies who need help the most. And this year our region is also organising the branch conference - super exciting! We have picked some great speakers, I can't wait to hear them and see ABA friends from across Victoria.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined ABA when I was pregnant with my eldest child, and did a Breastfeeding Education Class. It was so helpful and detailed, I really felt much more prepared. Of course nothing can actually prepare you for the reality of life as a new parent! So five or six weeks after she was born, I dragged my sleep-deprived self and colicky baby to a local group meeting on sleep. The counselor and the other mums there were so supportive and encouraging. We really struggled with breastfeeding at first, but over time it got easier, and having a regular group meeting to look forward to and reading other people's success stories on the forum helped me get those first difficult months. That was seven years ago now... I started my ABA training when DD1 was almost two, qualified around part-time work and a second baby, took over group leader a few years ago, and I'm still here finding new and interesting things to do.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love ABA because of the people. I have yet to meet an ABA volunteer who isn't a genuinely good person. ABA volunteers come from lots of different backgrounds but we all share a love for our children, and a desire to help others, which makes ABA people my kind of people! I also love that we don't just rely on anecdotes but wherever possible we find out the scientific evidence. When there are so many self-proclaimed baby experts out there, it's good to know you can always turn to ABA publications for the latest science-backed information. 
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    I have two wonderful daughters and a very supportive husband. His mum was an NMAA counsellor, as was my mum, so I guess it's been in the family for a while!
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    When I get some 'me time' I love to curl up with a good book and escape to another world. I also sing with a choir once a week - beautiful music keeps me sane and happy.
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    My eldest loves baking with me, so probably the 'Simplicity chocolate cake' from NMAA Cooks (the trusty 'red cookbook'). My youngest loves green and will eat anything with pesto sauce on it. They both adore homemade pizza, especially if I make little individual pizzas and they get to arrange the toppings into a face!
 

 

Kate Bale-BethalJuly 2016 - Katie Bale-Bethal - CE, trainer and assessory and Group Leader, Lockyer Group, QLD

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    At the moment, I’m a community educator, group leader, and a trainer and assessor. I also do a weekly shift on LiveChat.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I was given an information pack by my midwife while pregnant with my daughter and joined soon after her birth in 2011. We had a few breastfeeding challenges and received so much support from ABA that when a Breastfeeding Helpline counsellor suggested that I might like to think about training with ABA, I jumped in wholeheartedly and have not looked back.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I adore ABA. Most of all I love that ABA is a safe space where I feel free from judgement, and where I feel supported and welcome. I love our Code of Ethics! I also love that I’ve met my best friends through ABA, and that I’m constantly inspired by the amazing people who are part of this Association.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family.
    My husband, Terry and I have one daughter, 5-year old Bonnie, and one very aged rescue greyhound, Amber. Bonnie is home-schooled so she and I get to spend a lot of time together.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to curl up on the couch and read. I also love to sew, embroider, and knit. But my most favourite thing to do is ABA (did I mention I really love ABA?). I really enjoy my evenings on LiveChat and I love planning and delivering training. If only I had more ‘me time’!
  6. What are your kids’ favourite recipes?
    Bonnie has multiple food allergies, intolerances and sensory issues, so I spend hours every day cooking, but never use a recipe! Her favourite foods (served separately, of course) are pan-fried lamb chops, raw baby spinach leaves, and dried apricots.
 

 

Susan WindleJune 2016 – Susan Windle – Community Educator and Expo Volunteer

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    My current involvement with ABA is through the BEC classes and helping out on our stalls at mother and babies conventions. I am not involved much at a group level, although have helped outwith the occasional group meeting and talks to MCW centres on a needs basis. I'm looking to support the training program at some time in the future. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I first became involved with ABA in 1981 after the birth of my first baby. I went along to my first meeting with a 3 week old baby to find out why she wasn't sleeping through the night!! I became a counsellor and group leader and was also a training assessor in the days before assignments were done electronically. Hard to imagine now but it did involve a lot of handwriting! My passion for breastfeeding has never waned and it makes me sad to see how, in my opinion, young mothers are still not receiving the support they need to successfully breastfeed. This generation have more pressure on them I think then my generation did. Leaving hospital so early, returning to work, the expectation that they will be slim fit and gorgeous five minutes after birth! The idea that a breast pump is essential and the expectations of a baby that sleeps all night and never cries are still defining a "good" mother. Don't get me started!!
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    What I love about ABA is that it is women supporting other women without judgement or prejudice. I also love that I made lifelong friendships in ABA 35 years ago which still are of incredible value to me now.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My family are grown now and I wait eagerly for grandkids which I dont see happening for another few years. My daughter is 35 and doing very well in her career and my son is 32 and single also building his business and appears in no hurry to settle down. As a family we were aways keen to get out and do something and the kids were both active in most sports. My husband was an airline pilot and so we had the advantage of travelling a lot when the kids were young. He has recently retired and we are enjoying exploring a different lifestyle without schedules and obligations. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    My favourite things to do are tennis, bush walking and going to the theatre. I also love anything to do with the sea.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes? 
    I've no idea what my kids favouite recipes are. I know my daughter has a few good cheesecake recipes! Never did a lot of cooking in our place. It was always pretty quick and basic and the old NMAA cookbook was used so often it feel apart some years back! 
 

 

Natasha Allen-HallyburtonMay 2016 – Natasha Allen-Hallyburton – Breastfeeding Counsellor, Breastpump Hiring Officer (Knox, VIC), Regional Representative (Maroondah Region, VIC)

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I have been a breastfeeding counsellor for over 12 years.  I've held many roles over that time but my current roles are the Breastpump Hiring Officer for my local group (KNOX) and the Regional Representative for Maroondah Region. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I became involved in ABA when a friend took me along to a New and Expectant Mums meeting of my local group when I was pregnant with my first child, twenty years ago.  There I met some of the lovely volunteers and members of my group and joined up right away. I was new to the area with few friends and no family nearby so saw it as a great opportunity to meet some like-minded women and make some friends in the same situation as me.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I just love the warm, welcoming and non-judgemental atmosphere of the ABA.  I've always felt so accepted and supported. But mostly, it's the connections I've made.  I love that being involved with the association still gives me the opportunity to meet and come to know so many wonderful women, both in my local community and within the wider association, whom I would otherwise never have met.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband of 22 years, Steve, and I are lucky to have three beautiful daughters aged 19, 16 and 11. We were both originally country kids from rural Victoria and met at University in Melbourne. We are now firmly and very happily settled in the eastern suburbs.  However we still maintain much of our country way of life - keeping chickens, a big veggie patch, a fruit orchard, compost heap, worm farm, three cats and a dog. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    When I get some 'me-time' my favourite thing to do is curl up on the couch with a cosy blanket, a good coffee and a good book. 
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes? 
    My kids favourite recipes are my pumpkin and cauliflower soups,  vegetarian samosas,  potato and paneer kofta, and plum cobbler. 
 


Helen JeffcoatApril 2016 – Helen Jeffcoat – Essence Editor.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am the editor of ABA's magazine Essence. I've been editor for quite a while now and in Qld lots of ABA members recognise me ….. And they seem a bit wary about sitting next to me at ABA events. Probably because I might ask them to write an article, review a book or send in a letter. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    Mine was a gift membership from a friend when I was pregnant with our first child, our daughter Ailsa, 21 years ago.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I like that it mums helping other mums and that everyone is so kind and friendly.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband Brian and I have 4 children. Ailsa 20, Olwen 18 and twins Keith and Duncan who are 15. The children are our world and even though they were so sweet as babies I do like the time now when they are becoming adults. Most of all I like going on family holidays. I think that is what kids remember.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    We have four children, I work full time, my husband travels a lot with his work, not sure how much me time there is ! But I always have some crochet work with me, so when I am waiting to pick up boys from footy or the girls from late lectures at Uni, I can do something calming and creative. And by now I have given just about everyone we know a croched doiley or hanky!
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes? 
    Chocolate cake, and they are also very taken with a new shortbread - recipe from Judy Gifford that was in the July 2015 Essence page 36, that I have started making. 


  

Stephen JukesMarch 2016 – Stephen Jukes – Office Admin Volunteer.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    A bit of everything; from filling 'Welcome Packs' for new members, counting stock in the warehouse to anything the office staff throws at me! 
  2. What do you enjoy most about your role and responsibilities?
    The variety of tasks each week.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the idea of people who have experienced challenges in the past are helping those who are having the same challenges now. 
  4. When you get some 'me time', what is your favourite thing to do?
    Travel to the country, especially the south west coast of Victoria. 
  5. What are your most loved recipes?
    Recipes? What are they?!
  6. Where is your ultimate holiday destination and why?
    Canada, especially the west coast. The scenery there is spectacular. I have been there in the past and will be returning later this year to visit a friend who lives on Vancouver Island.



Juliet HoneyFebruary 2016 – Juliet Honey – Social Media Coordinator.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Community Education Trainee, I edit the bulletin for my local group and a help look after the National ABA Facebook page. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I got involved with ABA sort of by accident! I joined as a member really just to help support ABA after I had so many challenges initially with breastfeeding. I thought ABA did great work and was worth supporting. I then started getting local group emails about meetings so I went along and felt very welcomed by the other mums. I've found it a really nice group to get to know and wanted to be a part of ABA even more, so decided that training to be a Community Educator was a good fit for me. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love that the mums in ABA are like me, we often care about the same things and everyone is there in the spirit of mutual support (and cake). It's also great to be in a group with mums who have different age children; it allows discussion on a range of parenting issues with mums who have 'been there'.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    Currently it's me, my husband Tom and our little girl Pippa, who just turned one and our three cats who still don't quite know how this baby ended up in the house. 
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    Sitting with a hot cup of tea is pretty high on the list! I also love singing and am just about to try and get back into musical theatre, and sewing. I think most of the sewing is going to be for Pippa for the next little while though. 
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    Pippa eats pretty much anything we eat, although porridge seems to be a big hit for breakfast! We've always let her feed herself and we've never worried too much about it. 



January 2016 – Scott Williams – Director with the ABA Board.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Director with the ABA Board. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    A colleague of mine from the Women's and Children's hospital approached me about the Director's vacancy and encouraged me to consider applying.  I spent the time getting to understand more about the ABA and with a background in health the values of ABA sat well with my own. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love working for an organisation that has passion and the interest of others at heart. As a CEO for a not-for-profit organisation I already have made many career decisions based on the fundamentals of the organisation.  You can't sustain a fake culture!
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    Well I would say we are a typical family but that would be an understatement. I have 3 children Rhyley, he is 15, Grace who is 12 and Rose who is 9 and my partner's daughter, Harper who is 5. Bravely we took them all to Europe this year, Disneyland Paris will never be the same (neither we will for that matter!). The rules I have always applied with my kids (thanks to my Nan) have been 1. What you say no to today, you say no to tomorrow and 2. You can't spoil them with love.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    I love eating out, or heading up to the one of the wine regions for some cellar door delights. 
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    Probably when my partner cooks!  Although saying that, they have always loved my 5 spice Chinese chicken with snow peas or my  White Chocolate and Toblerone Mousse.



Cathy RossNovember 2015 – Cathy Ross – volunteer breastfeeding counsellor.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor from the Swan-Mundaring Group, in the eastern hills of Perth. I have had many roles in my 15+ years in ABA, including Group Leader, breast pump hire and Branch PR officer, however due to work commitments my current role is to help fill the overnight shift on the Breastfeeding Helpline. This is the shift that works best for myself, my full-time job and my family. Although I don’t get huge numbers of calls I feel I am helping those desperate mums in their hour of need (and entertaining the occasional teenage prankster!) I feel that people who call in the early hours of the morning do understand if you’re a little sleepy and take a bit more time to be helpful. They are so grateful to be able to talk to someone and get the reassurance they so badly need. I get a real buzz out of feeling I’ve helped.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    As a journalist working at my local newspaper I would often type up the notices of Swan-Mundaring Group’s meetings; they sounded interesting. I sometimes used the group when we needed photos of mums and babies. So it was only natural that when I became pregnant I went along to some meetings and continued coming after my daughter was born. The support and information I received was invaluable, and I have no doubt that without it I would not have breastfed for long. I felt so grateful to ABA that I wanted to give something back, so decided to train as a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor. The rest is history…
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the mother-to-mother support that every mother receives when they come into contact with ABA. Whether it’s on the Breastfeeding Helpline or at a group meeting, regardless of age, race or socioeconomics, our Code of Ethics and training enables volunteer helpers to give the same support to everyone, so that all mothers feel part of a warm, safe and nurturing environment. It’s just so vital for mothers to have this support. Similarly, this environment is extended to volunteers and breastfeeding counsellors by the ABA as a whole. I almost feel as if we are all one, big cosy cocoon!
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    I'm married to Stephen and I have a 29-year-old stepson, Cory, who has a five-year-old son of his own, a 20-year-old daughter, Claudia, 17-year son Cody, who’s just graduated high school and a 10-year-old livewire, Christopher, who keeps us all entertained. All my children seem to have names starting with the letter C; I have no idea how that happened.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    My very favourite thing is to curl up on my armchair with a glass of wine, some chocolate and a naughty book. However my next favourite activity is bellydancing. I attend classes twice a week and perform with the troupe at festivals throughout the year. I totally love it!
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    All my kids have completely different tastes. My daughter is into healthy living, so likes salads and vegetables – like me. My son Cody would eat plain rice, pasta, cheese pizza and cheese toasties forever and a day, and Christopher’s favourite foods seem to be chow mein and sausage casserole, but he eats pretty much anything.



Jen KowaldOctober 2015 – Jen Kowald – breastfeeding counsellor, BECs coordinator and volunteer webmaster.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a breastfeeding counsellor, coordinate our area's BECs and act as volunteer webmaster.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I went to a group meeting in 2007 before my first child was born, on the advice of a co-worker. I needed a lot of support through my breastfeeding experience with this bub, and I never left. I was convinced to train as a counsellor, qualifying in 2010. In 2012 I decided I wanted to find out more about how the organisation worked behind the scenes, and the webmaster's job was advertised... seemed like a great fit for me.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    There's plenty to like about the organisation. I think the way in which we support our volunteers and validate their contributions is excellent, and I also am a huge fan of the way we've managed to maintain the consistency of the Code of Ethics so that we can advocate without losing integrity. But what I love most about ABA is that it's the way I've met my best friends.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    I have two children Hannah who is 8 and Nathan who is 6, and a long-suffering husband Craig who refers to the ABA as 'booby club'. We are very close also to my extended family, with two of my three siblings still living on the Gold Coast where we were born.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    I like to read, do jigsaw puzzles and play online computer games.
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    Anything not cooked by me! Grandma's shortbread, Dad's spaghetti bolognese. If pressed, they will eat my home-made pizza.
     

 

Cathie Miller

 September 2015 – Cathie Miller – design coordinator for Essence.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am the design coordinator for Essence and do a little bit of other graphic design work where needed. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I’d been aware of the ABA for a long time; My Nana had the NMAA cooks books and I learnt to cook with them and I remember going to buy a mei tai when one of my cousins was a baby. Last year soon after the birth of my third child I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post from the ABA asking for volunteers to help with Essence and I was looking for an outlet to use my design skills that fitted in with life and home with a baby, toddler and pre-teen.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love mostly the unconditional support for new mothers, whatever background the ABA is there to help in the early days when everything is so raw and emotional. I also love that it has been going for such a long time and has a wonderful base of volunteers from grandmothers to new mums.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    I am mum to three beautiful boys; 12, 3 and 1, a loving partner, and neurotic cat. We live in an old rental in Melbourne’s inner north where we await the encroaching march of development.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    Recently I have learnt to run and that has become a great excuse for getting out of the house for some me time a few times a week. I also love most creative outlets and enjoy sewing, dyeing and hope to get back to bookmaking when the little boys give me time (probably when they start kinder!)
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    Oh how I wish there was one recipe that they all enjoyed!!! My 12 year old loves most food but especially anything with a Mexican twist; to try and keep it healthy I make a chilli mince and bean mix with lots of turmeric and sweet paprika, onions, corn and capsicum and pile it on a plate of baby spinach with a dollop of light sour cream and just a few corn chips on the side. My three year old lives on banana, yogurt and sandwiches and the one year old loves risotto with mushrooms that the other two can’t stand.


 

July 2015 – Caroline Lee – office admin volunteer.

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am usually helping out with packing various things. I come to the Head Office every week and every time there are things to be done. For example cards for the new members have to be put into envelopes and I am happy to do that or anything else I can help out with. 
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I wanted to do some volunteer work and I have always enjoyed helping out around the office. One day I was looking up for some volunteer opportunities online and that is how I found ABA. 
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I think the staff. I have met some friends at ABA, I like the friendly atmosphere around here. 
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    I come from quite big family. I have three sisters and one brother. Before I got married I was working full-time and I met my husband at work. We have two kids – a boy and a girl. My son is now 18 years old and my daughter is 20.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favorite thing to do?
    Watching TV. I like watching the news and some entertainment programs like the Bachelor. I enjoy watching cooking shows, sometimes I try to cook or bake something I saw on TV. Once I did a mango cheesecake. It was delicious. 
  6. What are your kids' favorite recipes? 
    My son will love any dish with a chicken while my daughter would eat anything that has chocolate in it. 
 


May 2015 – Julie Taylor – Counsellor, community educator, trainer and assessor and breast pump hire officer

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a Breastfeeding Counsellor and Community Educator with Westgate Region in Victoria. I am also a trainer and assessor and breast pump hire officer.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    When I was pregnant with our first child I knew I needed to make more friends in my local area, as well as get more information about breastfeeding, so I joined ABA (NMAA at the time).
    At about the second meeting I went to, I was asked to look after the local group library and soon after I was approached to take on the treasurer role and I’ve just kept on learning and being involved.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the friendships that I have made through ABA that stretch on through the years.
    I find it rewarding to be able to support mums on the Breastfeeding Helpline and in our region.
    As a trainer, I really enjoy working with our fresh, enthusiastic volunteers who are training.
    I think it is valuable for my kids to see that volunteering is important and that some things in life are worth doing, even if you don’t get paid.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband is David and we have 3 children: Ben (16 years) and Emma and Liam (11 year old twins).
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love to get out in the fresh air in the garden to weed and prune and potter about.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    My kids love lots of spicy foods – Thai green curry, Moroccan chicken, Vietnamese style salads…..anything except plain meat and three vegies!



Sharon GreenApril 2015 – Sharon Green – Trainer and assessor, Victorian Breastfeeding Helpline Coordinator, Assistant Branch President, involved with breastpump and BEC working groups and counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    Breastfeeding counsellor, trainer and assessor, VIC Breastfeeding Helpline coordinator, Assistant Branch President, and involved with breastpump and BEC working groups.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I started going to meetings with an old school friend when I had my first baby, and was signed up to train pretty soon afterwards, by Sally Davoren (Hi Sally!). I felt like ABA was the perfect fit for me, right from the first meeting I attended, and have hardly gone a month without attending a local group meeting since.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    What I love most is the friendships that form in ABA. I also love counselling and the buzz I get when a mother opens up to me about her breastfeeding journey and invites me to be a part of it. I think I have taken calls on our breastfeeding helpline every month since I qualified over 10 years ago, and I really enjoy it. BECs and educating parents-to-be is another favourite activity of mine, where I feel we really give great information and choices. The ongoing learning and sharing that happens in ABA is what keeps me going.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband Shane is a Paramedic. I have 3 fast-growing, crazy, noisy, busy, beautiful boys; Matthew 13, Joshua 11 and David 7.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Coffee with friends, read a good book, drawing, or enjoy a walk. (Must go and do these now!)
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    Anything, as long as there is lots of it! Home-made hamburgers would have to be at the top this week, along with Anzac biscuits and banana berry muffins.


 

Judy GiffordMarch 2015 – Judy Gifford OAM – Proofreading and Approval Working Group (PRAWG) Coordinator, Essence Assistant Editor, group treasurer, regional treasurer and counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    Currently I am the Coordinator of the Proofreading and Approval Working Group (PRAWG) responsible for the approval of our written material. I am also the Assistant Editor of Essence and treasurer of my group and region (Erina Group, Central Coast Region NSW). I have been a counsellor for more than 40 years and have held many jobs, including 9 years on the Board and almost 2 years as President. I still do two very busy 4-hour shifts a month on Sundays. I am proud that I am an honorary member and have received an OAM for my work for our Association.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    When I was pregnant with our second daughter in 1972, I read a small item in the Sunday paper about the Nursing Mothers’ Association and promptly sent off my $3 to join. We were living in Wagga Wagga at the time and I was a founding member of that group which started in 1973.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    Knowing that I have helped thousands of mothers to breastfeed and enjoy their babies, while mentoring countless fellow volunteers. And most importantly, the enduring friendships. Recently I have been contacted by three friends, former counsellors, to help their daughters with breastfeeding information.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    John and I have three adult daughters and 9 grandchildren, between the ages of 14 and 5. Two daughters live near us in the Gosford area and the eldest lives in country Victoria. Two of those daughters are themselves active breastfeeding counsellors.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I read, knit squares to make rugs for a charity called ‘Wraps with Love’, research family history, do some gardening and currently am trying to find time to write my memoirs!
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    The simplicity chocolate cake and the carrot cake from the Red Cookbook; pikelets; pavlovas which are even more delicious now that we have 4 chooks in our backyard; spicy chicken wings and my various versions of spaghetti bolognese.


 

Elizabeth OeiFebruary 2015 – Elizabeth Oei – Queensland Branch President, Proofreading and Approval Working Group (PRAWG) member and counsellor

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am currently the Qld Branch President and a member of PRAWG. I am also a counsellor with the Kenmore Group in Brisbane.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I was newly pregnant and a friend told me about Nursing Mothers. I thought you had to have had the baby in order to join, but by about 5 months of pregnancy, I rang the local group and was warmly welcomed. I was looking for companionship, having just recently moved (we were living in Melbourne).
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    Lots of things! I am very interested in the issues surrounding mothering and breastfeeding. I also like the fact that I know people from all over the state and country and that we all speak the same language about mothering and breastfeeding. I like  the fact that in spite of the diversity in age and experiences, I have so much in common with other ABA volunteers.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    Husband Tian and I have 3 children: Kartini – 35, Sebastian – 32 and Justiani 25. Also DIL Ange. We are empty nesters and are slowly getting used to our kids being independent and leading their own lives.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I love cross stitch, which I do in the evenings, while listening to an audio book on my MP3 player. I also enjoy doing photobooks.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    I’m not the cook in the family – Tian is a much better cook than I am. The kids probably have their own favourites that they cook,  but they still enjoy coming home for home-cooked Chinese food – lots of tofu for Justiani, beef and broccoli for Kartini and anything with meat for Sebastian. Tian also does a great spaghetti marinara, which we all love.


 

Debbie CourtJanuary 2015 – Debbie Court – Counsellor, Community Educator, Regional Representative, graphic designer

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    At a national level I am the graphic designer for Breastfeeding Review and ABA’s booklets (and recently resigned as Essence designer). At a local level I am regional representative for the Blue Mountains Region and treasurer for my local group, the Lower Blue Mountains Group. I have been a breastfeeding counsellor and a community educator for over 25 years. Up until 2 years ago I was on the Board of Directors for just over 9 years, six of those years as Honorary Secretary.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    In May 1981 I noticed an ad in my local paper for the first meeting of the new Lower Blue Mountains Group of the Nursing Mothers’ Association of Australia. As a newly licenced driver I was finally able to attend a Nursing Mothers’ meeting. Although I had been involved in Playgroup until now, I was very much attracted to this ‘Nursing Mothers’. So as a 22-year-old mum of three children under 6 (the first was breastfed for 6 weeks, the second 8 months and my ‘baby’ was still going at 3 months and did until she was 18 months old) I was finally on my way to a long relationship with NMAA/ABA. Little did I know I would be here nearly 34 years later! I am again attending local meetings with my daughter-in-law and 6-month-old grandson and meeting the daughters of members who attended in the 1980/1990s.

    I asked my group leader if I could train as a breastfeeding counsellor in 1986 after I had weaned my fourth child (at 3 years old). My region was also involved with national public relations and the WHO Code working group. I met some wonderful people along the way.

    I was group leader for the Lower Blue Mountains Group from 1989 to 1996. During that time I had my Nursing Mothers’ baby, Michelle. She weaned at 4 years and 8 months. She loved the Nursing Mothers’ meetings and making sure all the other children had someone to play with and when she went to school her only concern was who would look after the children at Nursing Mothers’ meetings. She made sure there was someone to take over from her.

    My next major role came as the result of saying I would love to be the Newsletter (now called Essence) editor ‘one day’. About a year later, without any experience, but willing to learn, I was the Newsletter editor. Back in 2001 that involved being the editor and designer. My passion for graphic design grew as I learnt how to use the proper graphic design program (not just Publisher).
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    There is the obvious — support for breastfeeding that was invaluable to me 30 years ago, but I also love the opportunities you can have along your ABA journey. For me it was being a graphic designer, counsellor, and a director of a company. This has all been very important to my self-esteem as I have been a stay-at-home mum/wife for all bar 1 year of my post high school life.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My family consists of my husband of 40 years, Geoff. We have 5 children — Michael (39), Matthew (36), Melissa (34), Martin (32) and Michelle (23). Our children and their partners have:
    Michael and Maryanne: Damian (4½) and Eleena (1½)
    Melissa and Darren: Tiana (16), Felicia (14) and due in February.
    Martin and Jenny: Tyrelle (14) and William (6 months)
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    My ‘me time’ is spent with family, of course, and family history. Family history is my new passion as I cut back on my design work.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    I don’t know what my children like to eat because they have all moved out of home (they are greatly missed but I am enjoying just the two of us). But I think the only thing that they all liked was my spaghetti bolognese. I used to despair at the lack of vegetables they would eat, but they all love their vegetables now — even the 6 foot tall son who didn’t start solids until he was 15 months old.


 

Jenny AlkemadeDecember 2014 – Jenny Alkemade – Counsellor, regional treasurer, group breast pump hirer, group project volunteer and breastfeeding education class (BEC) volunteer

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a breastfeeding Counsellor, Breastfeeding Helpline volunteer, regional treasurer, group breast pump hiring officer, group project volunteer and BEC volunteer. In the past I have been a Group Leader, Regional Representative, Assistant Branch President and Local Assessor.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined NMAA/ABA when I was pregnant with my first child, Sarah, who was born in September 1983. I was then approached by my Group Leader to train as a counsellor when Sarah was 9 months old.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love the feeling of belonging to such a wonderful group of women who share the same passions and beliefs about breastmilk, breastfeeding and mother-to-mother support. I also love the reward of helping other mums.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    I have a husband, Andrew and two children, Sarah (31) and Steven (28). We have two Labradors, Kane (11½) and Annie (10).
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Reading, watching old movies, watching wildlife documentaries and walking the dogs.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    Spaghetti bolognaise (it also allows me to grate vegetables in without them realising!)


 

Antonia NortonNovember 2014 – Antonia Norton – NSW Breastfeeding Helpline Coordinator

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am a breastfeeding counsellor and NSW Breastfeeding Helpline Coordinator which means I am often on the phone – either talking to mums or other counsellors! I love talking to our callers because it is so rewarding to be able to help them find the support and information they need to work through their concerns. Many mums need reassurance about what is normal for breastfed babies, as well as encouragement and support for their role as a parent – being on Breastfeeding Helpline lets me give that support and at the same time be available for my own kids.
    My other roles include presenting heaps of Breastfeeding Education Classes, running local group meetings and working for the NSW Branch – lately that has meant lots of parenting expos and conferences for health professionals.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    My doctor’s wife was a breastfeeding counsellor and he told me it was a great way to learn from experienced mothers – which was particularly important to me as I didn’t have any friends/family with babies and both my own mum and mother in law had passed away. I found the counsellors and other group members were really welcoming and helpful and encouraged me to trust my instincts as a mother.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    Apart from all the amazing people I have met through ABA, I love being part of a community that supports women in their parenting choices and offers endless opportunities for self development through learning and exploring new challenges. As a new mum out of the workforce I loved being able to use my work skills to help my local group - which in turn helped me get back into the workforce later. Before I had my second baby I enjoyed the challenge of training as a breastfeeding counsellor – which has given me skills I use in every part of my life. Always keen to try new things, I jumped at the chance to participate in the recent trial of counselling via GoogleGlass and to further my learning I have enrolled in training as an assessor.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband Alex and I have 2 gorgeous girls, 16 and 11 years  - they are both keen supporters of ABA and confidently talk about breastfeeding with their peers and to pregnant teachers etc. My whole family have heard enough counselling to know the answers to most breastfeeding questions! Being an ABA volunteer has shown the kids some great values - they have learnt the importance of giving back to the community and are proud of the work I do.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Me time is anytime I can get to the theatre or spending time outdoors enjoying nature – walking in the bush, gardening, time at the beach or horse riding.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    My bolognaise! Go figure – I am vegetarian but apparently have nailed this one! Oh, and there’s the all time favourite... banana bread.


 

Helen GraingerOctober 2014 – Helen Grainger – ABA National Baby Care Room Coordinator

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am the ABA National Baby Care Room Coordinator. My children are now grown up but I still have a passionate interest in improving baby care rooms for parents & children. I am also a Breastfeeding Counsellor.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I knew no one when I moved from Tasmania to Brisbane just before the birth of my first baby 25 yrs ago. A phone call to Nursing Mothers (now ABA) found the counsellor on roster was the Group Leader for my area (Clayfield). Thus began my involvement with ABA that continues to this day. After my first baby was born, we returned to Tasmania and became involved with ABA in Hobart on on the West Coast.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    The relaxed, supportive, lovely and interesting atmosphere at ABA meetings and via the Breastfeeding Helpline.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My hubsand Mark and I have Laura, 25 years who has been travelling/working overseas for 6 years and Claire, 18 years, just about to finish year 12. We live in Lenah Valley a suburb of Hobart, Tasmania.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    Love reading mystery and family sagas and cooking sweet things!
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    Chocolate chip cookies, double choc chips muffins and lasagne. Though I did make a sweet lasagne by accident once. My 2 yr old refused to eat the lasagne, saying it was yucky. After trying to force her to eat it, we then tasted it ourselves. Oh, it was bad. I had made the cheese sauce with icing sugar instead of flour!


 

Susan DaySeptember 2014 – Susan Day – ABA Vice-President

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I have several roles at the moment the two main ones being a counsellor at the grass roots level and a director (currently Vice President) at the strategic level.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I first got involved in the Nursing Mums days when our family moved to a country town with our first daughter who was 6 months old. When my daughter started pulling off when feeding (she was teething) the local child health nurse recommended I call the local Nursing Mothers lady, when I did she gave me some great suggestions and invited me along to their next get together. As I did not know anyone so thought this was a good opportunity to meet new friend. I am still going along to group meetings today and my daughter is now a young adult! Most of my dearest friends are NMAA/ABA ones.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    The local group was a place to learn various parenting skills from other mothers and ABA itself has given me many opportunities to try new things and gain new skills in a supportive and caring environment.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    Paul and I are blessed with 5 lovely daughters. Three have now left home, all with a trusty NMAA Cooks book to help them on their way! The remaining two have spread out somewhat and have filled the spaces in the house left by their older siblings.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I like to scrapbook. I print off my favourite family photos, journal the story behind the photos so that the stories are left behind with the photos.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    Probably lasagne or homemade pizza. I think our youngest Charlotte would have pizza every night of the week if we let her!



August 2014 – Jessica Leonard – Social Media Working Group Coordinator and Public Relations Officer (Vic)

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I'm a breastfeeding counsellor, as well as coordinating ABA's social media accounts and a Public Relations Officer in Victoria, meaning I respond to requests for comment from Victorian media outlets about breastfeeding and ABA.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    I joined as an ABA member when my first baby was about 6 months old. We had a rough start to breastfeeding, and I realised that without the support of my family I never would have been able to continue to breastfeed. Knowing how important that support was, and having seen friends struggle to breastfeed without a support network, I decided that I wanted to be able to support other mums. The first contact I had with my local group was me asking to train as a volunteer!
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I know that whenever I go to an ABA meeting, there's always a friend (old or new) to talk to, a cuppa and if I'm lucky, baked goodies.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My kids have just turned 5 and 8. It's a pretty exciting time, they'll both be at school next year and my youngest is super excited!
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    I'm a big coffee snob, and I love to sit in one of my favourite cafes alone and read a book.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    They love to help with the cooking! Making healthy pizzas and sausage rolls is their idea of a perfect meal.



July 2014 - Renee Kam - National Breastfeeding Information Manager

Renee Kam

  1. What is your volunteer role with ABA?
    I am an ABA breastfeeding counsellor. I am ABA’s National Breastfeeding Information Manager, group leader of my local ABA group, and a Breastfeeding Helpline mentor.
  2. How did you get involved with ABA?
    The challenges I experienced with breastfeeding my first child motivated me to learn more about breastfeeding and to train to become an ABA breastfeeding counsellor.
  3. What do you love about ABA?
    I love ABA’s focus of mother-to-mother support. Breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to many mothers and support is vitally important. It is very comforting knowing you can turn to ABA and find support in the way of empathy, unconditional positive regard and accurate and up-to-date information.
  4. Tell us a bit about your family?
    My husband Brandon and I have two daughters – Jessica who is 7 years old and Lara who is 4 years old. We also have a dog called Prince who is 10 years old.
  5. When you get some ‘me time’ what is your most favourite thing to do?
    When I get some ‘me time’ I like to go horse-riding with friends, go for a run, watch a movie or go out for coffee with a friend.
  6. What are your kids' favourite recipes?
    Jessica’s favourite home recipe of mine is my home-made meat pie. Lara’s favourite home recipe is my pizza – as long as they have olives on them she is happy!