Article as featured in The Natural Parent Magazine
Three Kids and a Business – With Milk‘s founder Danielle, chats to us about her journey into motherhood which sparked her breastfeeding clothing brand.
Before I became a mum 5 and a half years ago, I was pretty clueless. Sure, I had done lots of babysitting growing up and had younger siblings, so I had been around kids. I also went to the antenatal classes, which should count for something right?
Pregnancy for me was a breeze: I wasn’t sick, I didn’t have any weird cravings – the only thing really was my full cankles, but as I told my midwife, they were only a tad bit more swollen than usual. Birth (by induction at 42+2 weeks) was fine and by fine I mean I did labour all night by myself (naïve first-time mum didn’t know any different), had to push for 2 1/2 hours to get her out (the cord was around baby’s neck) and I subsequently haemorrhaged, BUT it was totally doable. Those first few weeks at home with an actual real-life baby, now that was HARD. My nipples were destroyed, I was still recovering from stitches and I had a baby who would scream from late afternoon to late evening. Naturally, I resorted to Dr Google to try and figure out what was wrong, wrote everything I ate down and bought every colic and wind concoction available, none of which helped. Thankfully, those witching hours lasted only a few weeks rather than months but even still, that felt like a lifetime.
Breastfeeding was also tough those first few weeks. My nipples were excruciatingly sore, like I may have cried sore. I also battled nipple thrush. I would walk around the house with my boobs out 24/7 to help with the healing, sleep with a towel to manage the leakage, plus deal with the piles of washing from my happy wee chucker – fun times.
You’d think by the time my 3rd baby rolled around, breastfeeding would be happy days (like it was with my second), but boy was that wrong. From two weeks onwards, I battled mastitis multiple times and it was a helluva tough time. Turns out (after seeing two different lactation consultants), little miss had both a tongue and lip tie so once that was finally sorted at 3 months old, our breastfeeding journey continued pain fee – hallelujah!!
Despite the initial first-time mum breastfeeding speed bumps with my first, and the rough start with my third, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Breastfeeding was such an incredibly beautiful part of my motherhood journey. I loved the closeness, the bond and the milk drunk snuggles, and nothing beats looking back into those dreamy wee eyes during a feed.
I’ve breastfed in total for just over three years which is a LOT. In that time, I struggled to find any breastfeeding-friendly clothes that I actually wanted to wear. Most weren’t versatile for daily baby wrangling (lots of fancy frills), they screamed “Hello, I’m a breastfeeding top”, or they were just straight fugly! Knowing very little about business, design or manufacturing, I went all in and With Milk was born. I wanted to create breastfeeding-friendly clothes that were not only functional but were also cool with classic styles, flattering cuts and gorgeous custom colours. They had to be kind too, so GOTS certified organic cotton was a no brainer.
Now three kids deep and a new business, I feel like I kinda (ish) know what I’m doing, BUT I’ll never forget those first few weeks as a new mum – they were by far the hardest!