Park Ridge woman Maria Addison reached a significant 30-year milestone of volunteering for the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) in August this year.
Mrs Addison has been the group leader for the Logan City and Scenic Rim Group since October 2007 and has held a variety of regional, state, and national positions over the years, including the role of regional representative four times.
Her current volunteer roles at the ABA include breastfeeding counsellor, community educator, group leader, group and regional treasurer, Breastfeeding Helpline volunteer, helpline mentor to new counsellors, group bulletin editor, librarian, meeting hostess, Facebook administrator, media liaison, grant writer, and more.
Mrs Addison said her passion for supporting breastfeeding mothers began 34 years ago in 1987 when she attended her first ABA meeting with her 16-week-old daughter.
She loved the interaction and support provided by ABA volunteers and other mums.
“This is where I started my mothering, breastfeeding, and parenting village,” she said.
“I would never have continued to breastfeed if I did not go to the meetings and did not have the information and support from the counsellors who were there at the time.”
Jeanette Salter, Leonie Davies, Maria Addison and Robyn Ernst were a part of the Browns Plains group together. These women and many others were an important part of Maria’s village when her daughter Emily was little and they continued to be a part of each other’s lives.
Soon after her first meeting, Mrs Addison was asked if she would like to volunteer for the group, and on August 13, 1991, she became a qualified Breastfeeding Counsellor for the ABA.
In 2012, she updated her qualification to a Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Counselling and Community Education.
Currently, Mrs Addison takes on three volunteer helpline shifts a month to support mums and dads over the phone through difficult times in their breastfeeding journeys.
During the past 30 years she has spoken to about 6750 mums and dads over the phone, with an average of 225 phone calls per year.
Mrs Addison said she continued to volunteer with the ABA to give back to the community, as she said it was vitally important for breastfeeding mothers to receive support.
“If they want to breastfeed, to be able to succeed really helps mums with their mental health,” she said.
“If they don’t breastfeed because they haven’t had the support and can’t manage it on their own, that can negatively affect their mental health.”
Mrs Addison spends about 15 hours of her week volunteering for the ABA on top of her full-time job and caring for her family.
Her goals are to promote breastfeeding, support mothers in their parenting roles, provide them with correct information, and let parents know about the ABA and their group meetings.
One of the things she has loved about being involved for so long is all the friendships she has made along the way.
“I have made quite a few life-long friends from over the years and we still catch up every so often for a coffee and chat,” she said.
“Babies and children are always welcome at the ABA meetings.”
The ABA Logan City and Scenic Rim group currently meet from 9:30am – 12:00pm on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at the Jimboomba Library at 22 Honora Street, and the 4th Monday of each month in Slacks Creek at YFS at 2-4 Rowan Street.
They offer an extensive library of books and DVDs, and their electric breast pump hiring service is available to anyone in the community.