How my first experience of breastfeeding led me to create Stylefeed

By Claire Milligan, Founder of Stylefeed

I’ll never forget the first moment I breastfed my son. Straight after I birthed him he was rushed off to have his little airways cleared due to swallowing meconium in the womb. Fifteen long minutes later, the nurse placed him on my chest while I was being stitched up by the doctor (24 hours of labour, an epidural and an episiotomy later will do that to you).

After reading all about breastfeeding in books and on blogs, and being told it was something that’d come ‘naturally’, I wasn’t phased as I held my precious, newborn son to my chest. Surely it would be a pain-free, straightforward experience, right?

Not quite. He immediately chomped down on my nipple - no gentle suckling here. Sore nipples? Tick.

Despite this, I sailed through the day in a cloud of euphoria. Finally our newborn son was here! My emotions were heightened; it was purely magical and utterly terrifying all at once.

Then the dreaded first night came, and with it, the ‘cluster’ feeding. For 5 hours straight my son was feeding on and off. My poor, sore nipples were working overtime and I was completely exhausted.

The good news? My milk came in on day two to cater for my hungry little monster. After spending two nights in hospital, I jumped at the chance to speak with a lactation consultant before heading home. She helped me with my breastfeeding technique and my son and I seemed to have got the hang of it.

At home however, it was a different story. My breastfeeding journey over the next six months had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster ride. Which side did I last feed on? How long should he be feeding for and how often? How frequently should I be expressing milk? Is he being fed enough?  

But one of the biggest breastfeeding dilemmas I faced was working out what on earth I could wear. I couldn’t wait to get out of my maternity clothes and into clothes that made me feel like myself again - and that I could also easily feed my son in. 

Wanting to look good was less about my appearance and more about helping me feel like a normal human being again, even though I felt like I’d just stepped onto Planet Newborn. 

In my desperation to find stylish feeding attire, I googled “breastfeeding clothes” and was surprised by the fact that there were barely any options, let alone ones that weren’t completely ‘daggy'! 

Frustrated, I asked friends and other mothers I met for recommendations but everyone had the same problem as me.

I decided to devise a solution myself, and so Stylefeed was born. I began working tirelessly to create breastfeeding-friendly designs that mothers could wear with confidence, sourcing beautiful fabrics and get the business started.

Three years later, Stylefeed launched. While it’s at the beginning of its exciting journey, the feedback from women who “absolutely love” our clothing is confirmation I made the right decision. 

 I don't have a photo breastfeeding, but I love this image of my 3 year old feeding my youngest at 6 months. So much LOVE. 

I don't have a photo breastfeeding, but I love this image of my 3 year old feeding my youngest at 6 months. So much LOVE. 

While I felt a mixture of sadness, pride and relief when my breastfeeding journey came to an end, it ultimately helped me to create my next baby - Stylefeed - and that can only be a good thing, right?

 

Read more about Stylefeed, and me, in the ‘About Us’ section on our website.