Mother launches ‘breastfeeding T-shirts’ with secret zips for self-conscious mums

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.

As a few of you already know, for the past two years I’ve been working on a little project. And now I am so excited to finally launch my website and to see my idea become a reality. Back in early 2016 I had a simple idea to create a T-shirt with hidden zips at the sides to allow easy access for breastfeeding. I then spent the next year finalising the design, finding the right material and creating the designs for the front of them. Then it took a further year to get the design protected, trademark the name and set up the website. But after all the hard work, and harassing of my friends and family for their opinion and advice, I am so happy to finally launch The Milky Tee Company and website www.milkyteecompany.com. If you know anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, please share our page @milkyteeco , it would mean a lot to me. And if anyone is a member of a breastfeeding group please feel free to mention my tees in there. I’d love as much help as possible to spread the word!!! Thanks to all those who have already helped me out and supported me, it means a lot. Fingers crossed it’ll all be worth it!!!! #milkytees #breastfeedingtshirts #breastfeedingtees #breastfeedingtops #nursingtees #nursingtops #breastfeedinguk #breastfeeding #themilkyteecompany

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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.’

Today has been surreal, crazy and amazing. Thank you everyone for your lovely messages. I still can’t believe my business won the PayPal International Award. I was so sure we wouldn’t win I hadn’t brought anyone with me and I had no one to hug after I got the award so I just hugged the lady next to me instead!!! And I also can’t believe I had lunch with both Sir Richard Branson and the head of Paypal UK Mark Brant. Getting this award means so much to me as the prize gives me up to £100,000 in fee free PayPal processing and I also get mentoring from the PayPal executives to help grow my business globally which is honestly invaluable to me. Thank you to my wonderful friends and family for all your support. I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m so motivated and excited #dreambig #voom2018 #voom

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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.’

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