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Etta, a corporate lawyer and mum of four, couldn’t find a solution for her breastfeeding struggles. So, she built a pioneering new product from the ground up. Read her story below …
When I was pregnant, I expected childbirth to be the main struggle. But I never thought my biggest challenge would come after labour was over.
Breastfeeding caught me off guard with all of my four children (Emilia, 9, Otto, 7, Ingrid, 4, and Albert, 2). I ran into every roadblock: oversupply, undersupply, pain, blocked ducts, engorgement, and mastitis (just to name a few).
Something that I had assumed would be so simple became a daily struggle, and made me feel like a complete failure.
Worst of all, I couldn’t find any products to help, which made me think I was the odd one out. “If everyone has such a hard time breastfeeding, why aren’t there solutions to fix it?”, I wondered.
But with my third child (Ingrid), I found an amazing mother’s group and shared my breastfeeding woes. In fact, 92 percent of mums experience these common problems and feel they just have to ‘get on with it’.
Mum-of-four, Etta says breastfeeding made her feel “like a failure”.
Out of the 300,000 babies born in Australia each year, 96 percent of mothers initiate breastfeeding. But by three months 61 percent of babies aren’t exclusively breastfed. We have a long way to go to improve breastfeeding rates, and this is being highlighted this week in particular as part of World Breastfeeding Week.
Experiencing the problem myself – and seeing the extent of the problem worldwide (UNICEF reported recently that “no country in the world meets the recommended standards for breastfeeding”) – helped me to understand what sort of solution could help.
After her own struggles with breastfeeding, Etta set out to find a solution.
So, I swapped my 15+ year career as a corporate lawyer (most recently for a Fortune 500 company) to create Lactamo (Latin for ‘milk-friend’), the first-of-its-kind breastfeeding massage ball.
Lactamo is specifically developed and designed for the elasticity of lactating breast tissue, with hollow surface lumps filled with gel that can be heated or cooled, and is simple, reusable and affordable. Lactamo is rolled over the breast and is aimed at stimulating milk production and flow and aiding the let-down reflex, helping clear blocked ducts, and helping relieve swelling and pain.
Lactamo is a first-of-its-kind breastfeeding massage ball.
Fast forward 18 months, and Lactamo has been hailed as a breakthrough and “a potential game-changer in breastfeeding” by leading industry experts.
But launching a new product during a pandemic hasn’t been without its challenges. I’ve faced delays, stock being tied up in locked down depos due to COVID-19 outbreaks – as well as the daily juggle of keeping four young kids under 9 entertained in lockdown!
Luckily, Lactamo is manufactured here in Australia, meaning we’re less impacted logistically than if we’d taken our manufacturing overseas. Plus, I’m able to support our local economy at a time when they need it most.
The feelings of failure that I experienced are all too common when it comes to breastfeeding, and I’m determined to give other mums a better start in their motherhood journey than I had.