Saturday, August 11, 2007

Breastfeeding - or Clowning 101

From the moment I got pregnant I was totally committed to breastfeeding as I knew it was the absolute best I could do for my baby. Like my career, I researched pregnancy and motherhood - mostly because I was terrified because I hadn't been terribly maternal until the 12 months or so before falling pregnant - and had my mind set on finding 'best practice' for mothering. Breastfeeding was certainly part of that.

To prepare I read my two bibles - Up the Duff and What to Expect When You're Expecting and did pregnancy yoga, a natural birthing class (my husbandwas horrified at being dragged to a 'hippy spiritual' class but ended upfeeling empowered!) and a breastfeeding class. I thought I was fully equipped for the 'natural' and planned experience I fully intended to have. To cut to the chase, I needed an emergency caesarean and my son had a couple of complications so they wanted to whisk him off to special care without that all important first breastfeed and bonding time. In my morphine haze, I very persistently harassed the midwives until I got that special time with Bailey.

From that point on breastfeeding was pretty easy for me. Of course I had the usual latching lessons and painful moments while my breasts adjusted to their new role. The main challenge for me was maintaining my usual, 'I know what I am doing' confidence in public when I was really struggling to juggle boobs, breastpads, sick cloths, bras, tanks tops (for under the clothes to keep flabby tum concealed), clothes and oh of course - my wonderful baby. Like all in his family he would go from happy to hysterical due to starvation in 2 minutes, so dashing off to some smelly mother's room or café to find a private corner was not an option.

One 3am morning when Bailey was about 6 weeks old (with the threat of returning to corporate life looming) I had a light bulb idea flash in my head. What if I could design a top that built in a maternity bra, had enough fabric to cover breastpads and leaks, had pockets to hold breastpads in place, was long-enough to cover post baby tummies, was comfortable and looked good enough to be worn as a top? With the 3am feed finished, I sat up till dawn drawing a design until I had ticked off all of the 'must have's' on my list. The result was the FreshMums tank and I now have 3 designs in over 80 stores in Australia, the UK and Singapore with more to follow in New Zeland, the US and otherinternational locations.

It has been a huge 18 months and has required a considerable amount of time, money, energy and mother guilt to stay in business. We are about to launch3 new designs and a great new product called Milk Bands to help womenremember when they fed last, how long they fed for and what side to feednext. It just goes to show - women know what they want but they don't alwayshave time to do it themselves. I'm just glad that I did that drawing and was able to make breastfeeding a little bit more comfortable for over 7000 women- so far!

Tracey – Managing Director Fresh Mums.

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