A mother has created the perfect garment for breastfeeding mums who feel nervous about exposing themselves in public.
Lauren Hampshire, 34, set up her own business, The Milky Tee Company, following the birth of her second child, after feeling there was nothing out there for mothers who wanted to stay stylish while breastfeeding their babies discreetly.
Lauren, originally from Northern Ireland but now living in Maidstone, Kent, came up with the idea of a T-shirt with a secret side zip, and the garment is now selling all over the world.
The mother-of-two has even won an award at Richard Branson’s Virgin Business 2018 VOOM Awards.
Speaking about her creation, Lauren explained: ‘It was an idea I had when I was breastfeeding my youngest daughter after feeling there had got to be an easier solution for breastfeeding mums who felt self-conscious to feed their children in public.
‘I couldn’t believe that in 2016 there wasn’t a better option. Both my daughters were feeding often and I sometimes felt like a human milking machine. I really struggled to find clothes that I could wear,’ she added.
‘My youngest daughter was exclusively breastfed and would refuse a bottle, so I had no choice but to feed in public. She would feel uncomfortable when I covered her with a blanket and would pull it away,’ Lauren recalled.
‘I had always been a T-shirts and jeans person before having my children but felt my options were limited to frumpy or old-fashioned maternity wear that just wasn’t stylish at all. I couldn’t find anything clothes that fit the bill so I decided to make my own.’
Lauren designed the garments with her mother-in-law, who is a former midwife and also great at using a sewing machine.
The T-shirts, which are made from Oeko-tex certified cotton, have a hidden zip at each side under the arm, which can be opened for easier access while breastfeeding to help keep self-conscious mums covered.
The simple tees are emblazoned with words such as ‘bossing it!’ and ‘Coffee and concealer’.
‘I wanted to add slogans that would still be trendy even when mums were no longer feeding,’ Lauren explained.
‘It’s been a long process to finally get the T-shirts to market, but we have now been up and running around three months, and they have been really successful.’
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The design has been so successful that Lauren received the PayPal International Award at this year’s ceremony, winning £100,000 worth of processing fees and mentorship from a PayPal leader for six months.
Lauren has already sold more than 500 T-shirts worldwide and hopes that the backing she’ll receive from the award will enable her to expand her business even further with the introduction of breastfeeding jumpers.
Words by Kirsty McCormack