History and Purpose
Breastfeeding in the United States is becoming an endangered practice. Mothers meet numerous cultural, institutional, and commercial barriers to both initiation and continuation of optimal breastfeeding. In January of 1995, Barbara Heiser, former LLLI board member, Marsha Walker, ILCA board member, and Dr. Karin Cadwell explored solutions to these barriers. While numerous groups focus on breastfeeding, and other organizations include an aspect of breastfeeding within their mission, no institutions or agencies had breastfeeding advocacy as their primary focus.
The National Alliance of Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) was formed to be that advocate and fill the existing gaps in breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support. NABA endeavors advocate for breastfeeding at the state and federal levels, to move breastfeeding into the public health arena and restore breastfeeding as the cultural norm. NABA is the organization representing IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) and WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) in the United States. NABA is a member of the US Breastfeeding Committee and is represented on USDA’s Breastfeeding Promotion Consortium.
Barbara Heiser, RN, BSN, IBCLC is the Executive Director of NABA and has worked to help breastfeeding mothers since 1979 through mother-to-mother support (LLLI) and as a lactation specialist. She has worked in Washington for breastfeeding since 1985 and served on the La Leche League International (LLLI) Board of Directors from 1988 to 1995.
Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC is the Executive Director of NABA REAL and has been helping breastfeeding families since 1976 as a lactation specialist. She is a past president of the International Lactation Consultant Association. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, Baby Friendly USA, and Best for Babes Foundation. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the US Lactation Consultant Association as the Director of Public Policy.