• Entry type: Organisation
  • Entry ID: AWE0158

The Nursing Mothers’ Association Australia

(From 1964 – 2001)
  • Occupation Social support organisation


Originally named the Nursing Mothers’ Association the extra A for Australia was added in 1969 to reflect the national nature as the Association grew.

Established at a time when formula feeding was seen as modern and fashionable and viewed as being as good as, if not better than breastfeeding.


Established in 1964 by Mary Paton and five of her friends – Jan Barry, Glenise Francis, Pat Paterson, Pauline Pick and Sue Woods, with the idea of breast feeding mothers supporting each other.
The association commenced at a time when censorship restrictions would not allow words such as ‘breast’, ‘pregnant’ or ‘nipple’ in public print or on the airwaves. The Postmaster General’s Department (part of which is now known as Telstra) would not allow the word ‘breastfeeding’ to be printed in the telephone directory. The name Nursing Mothers’ Association was decided upon as it combined the ideas of breastfeeding and nurturing.
By 1965, the Constitution and the NMA Code of Ethics were adopted, as well as a counsellor training system being introduced. And publications Increasing Your Supply, Survival Plan and Toddlers’ Activities being produced in 1968. The Increasing Your Supply booklet was later translated into Greek – reflecting the changing makeup of the Australian society.
In 1976 the first breastfeeding Helpline was established in Melbourne, with trained volunteer Breastfeeding counsellors, taking calls day and night.
Members of the Association voted in May 2001 for a change of name to the Australian Breastfeeding Association.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • State Library of Victoria
    • Records, 1964-1997 [manuscript].
  • State Library of Western Australia
    • Nursing Mothers' Association of Australia records, 1969-2004 [manuscript]

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Leonard, Marjorie (Helen) (1945 - 2001)
  • Subsequent
    • Australian Breastfeeding Association (2001 - )
  • Related Organisations
    • Australian Women's Organisations Conference (1999 - )