You know the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention”? Well, no one knows this better than Katie Brooker, the brains behind Cake Maternity’s designs.
When I was pregnant I was between an E and an F cup. Then when my milk came in, my breasts exploded and I was a G/GG. I was so sore, it was excruciating. You know the drill, crying in the shower trying to wash yourself whilst holding the weight of your boobs with one slippery arm. I was bursting out of my Cotton Candy Nursing Bra and I was angry and annoyed. I felt so sorry for the girls that start off as an F (or an H!) cup before they’re even pregnant. Do they just stay in bed all day?! Their boobs must be killing them. I realised there was nothing out there for them that was soft, comfortable, and able to handle the daily fluctuations while remaining supportive. From here, our renowned fuller bust nursing bralette, Sugar Candy, was born.
So once my boobs calmed down a little, I was so excited to get back into a somewhat normal routine, bond with my baby, go for lovely long walks and jogs, and get coffee with my girlfriends in my activewear while my baby conveniently napped on me. But alas, this is the real world, not fairyland. So here’s what *actually* happened when I went for a jog with my daughter, Edie…
I’d pop on a nursing bra and chuck a sports bra over the top to reduce the bounce. Then when Edie would get hungry I’d hide behind a tree, shrub or nearby parked car (preferably empty), whip off my sports bra and nurse. Highly impractical, I know, but this ultimately led to the design for our Zest Nursing Sports Bra. This little number provides support for high impact activity, without compromising on nursing functionality! Plus I added a J-hook for extra support for the busty mamas.
After watching Pride & Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables and Like Water for Chocolate during the many many hours spent breastfeeding, I suddenly wanted a cotton embroidery anglaise bra. So Parfait was born — a flexible wired balconette bra that’s cotton, breathable and beautiful. Funny where the inspiration comes from sometimes.
Edie didn’t sleep through the whole night until 11 months, and I produced a LOT of milk. I went down the demand feeding route — so if she didn’t wake up, I wouldn’t either. At least in theory. One night I was dreaming about being a milk maid and the cow tipped the entire bucket of milk on me. Then I woke up and realised I was literally drenched in about a gallon of liquid gold. And if that wasn’t enough, one of my breast pads was stuck to the side of my face and the other was totally MIA.
This delightful experience inspired the Milk Bamboo Sleep Bra. Milk has moisture wicking pockets which keep breast pads in place (not on your face), and is made from an absorbent and super soft bamboo viscose. Perfect for those sleepy nighttime feeds.
So with these new additions to Cake’s catalogue, you’d think I’d be fully equipped for baby number two. But my second daughter, Olive, had other ideas. She arrived 8 weeks early, so my boobs took a LOT of encouragement to switch from pregnancy mode to breastfeeding mode. I was pumping every three hours and only sleeping in 2 hour blocks for the first three months.
My daily routine was as follows:
- Wake up at the hospital
- Head downstairs
- Attach myself to the dairy machine
- Hold the pumps in place for about 40 minutes
- Clean and sanitise the pump, flanges and bottles
- Label the milky bags
- Put them in a massive communal fridge
- Then I’d be allowed skin to skin with my tiny little daughter in ICU
- Feed her about 3mL through a syringe, into a tube up her nose that ended up in her stomach
- Head back upstairs
- Cry a bit
- Apply lanolin to my sore boobs
- Try to sleep
The mama pumping next to me would tie a hairband around the flange of her pump and attach this to her nursing clip, leaving her hands free to read a magazine or look at pictures of her baby on her phone to increase her milk flow. “There’s got to be a better way to do this”, I thought to myself.
Very soon thereafter I designed Lotus — a hands-free pumping, nursing, yoga, and sleep bra. It’s perfect to be worn immediately after you’ve had bub, when you’re too sore to change bras for different purposes, or when you’re pumping with 10 other people in the room. Not that us mamas are particularly worried about having our nipples on display…
I could go on and on about the rhyme and reason behind each of our designs, but A. I don’t want to give everything away, and B. I’m guessing you’re a busy mama and have to get back to feeding, pumping, or running around after your kiddos. But next time you’re browsing our website and wondering how we came up with each design, let your imagination run wild, because chances are it was a pretty crazy story!
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