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Breastfeeding Skill Recognised

Nearly four decades after pioneering a unique training scheme for its nationwide network of volunteer breastfeeding counsellors, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (formerly Nursing Mothers) has been formally recognised as a training organisation by the National Training Information Service (NTIS.)

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), which currently has approximately 1200 trained volunteers throughout Australia, this month joined a small number of non profit volunteer organisations that have achieved Registered Training Organisation status in the national vocational and training system of the Department of Education, Science and Training.

Association President Margaret Grove said "Since the 1960s the Association has trained tens of thousands of volunteers to provide mother to mother breastfeeding support in the community."

"Skilled and knowledgeable support is critical for mothers in our society to succeed at breastfeeding, and the training that ABA volunteer counsellors receive is widely respected among health professionals, both here and overseas" said Ms Grove.

Since the association was established in 1964 to support mothers wishing to breastfeeding their babies, medical authorities have acknowledged its volunteers' contribution to the increase in breastfeeding rates. ABA, through its Lactation Resource Centre, is Australia's leading authority on breastfeeding.

"For many new mums, including those in remote and regional Australia, training as an ABA (formerly Nursing Mothers) breastfeeding counsellor has been the first step towards a professional or volunteer career in lactation counselling and breastfeeding support," added Ms Grove.

As a Registered Training Organisation, ABA will be able to provide nationally accredited qualifications for its breastfeeding educators and breastfeeding counsellors, trainers and assessors.

"Being able to offer a formal qualification after completing ABA training is a well deserved recognition of the high standards we expect of our volunteer counsellors, and also acknowledges their commitment and service to the community. Our trainers are now able to receive the TAA40104 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment which will ensure that the high quality of the training delivery of our breastfeeding and community education courses will continue," said Ms Grove.

ABA is in the process of developing its own accredited courses which will result in further qualifications in communication, counselling and group leadership, underpinning the detailed breastfeeding knowledge required to educate, counsel and support mothers in the community. Such skills are widely sought by employers in communications, counselling, and human relations fields.

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By Nadia MacLeod