A mum came up with an ingenious invention for breastfeeding mothers who felt 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 two years ago, after feeling there was nothing out there for mums who wanted to stay stylish while being easily able to breastfeed their children discreetly in public.
Lauren, originally from Northern Ireland but now living in Maidstone, Kent, came up with the idea of a breastfeeding t-shirt with a secret zip, while at home looking after her two daughters, Sophia, now five, and Sienna, now two.
She said: “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.
“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 aware.
“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.”
The creative mum designed the breastfeeding t-shirts with her mother-in-law, XX, a former midwife or was very handy with a sewing machine, and together they create the Milky Tee brand.
The top hides a discreet zip under the arm which can be opened for easier access while feeding as well as helping to keep self-conscious mums covered up in public, whilst also being made from chemical-free fabric to protect sensitive skin.
Lauren said: “I wanted to make breastfeeding more fashionable and comfortable.
“As I was breastfeeding my self at the time, I got to try the t-shirts out and test the design.
“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.
“I wanted to add slogans that would still be trendy even when mums were no longer feeding and weren’t
“People are ordering from everywhere, Spain, Dubai, America and even Australia.”
The design has been so successful that Lauren received the PayPal International Award at this year’s ceremony, in London, winning £100,000 worth of processing fees and mentorship from a PayPal leader for six months.
Lauren said: “I never thought I would be invited along let alone win.
“It’s gone crazy so quickly.
“I never felt that I should hide when I was breastfeeding at that mums should be able to where ever they go but the t-shirt was for those of us that felt a bit shy or nervous in public.”
The t-shirt has had five-star reviews and Lauren is now hoping to include more to her fashion collection and hopes to include jumpers and dresses in a range of colours.
Lauren has received a huge amount of support form her husband, Andrew, 34, who also has his own cleaning business.
She said: “Andrew has been amazing and helps me with general running around.
“It a really dream come true to see the hard work finally paying off and it just shows that even a busy mums can start their own business.”