I’m MJ (affectionately known by my better half), Mama to 1 Little Bear (known as LB while pregnant) and coincidentally now his actual initials too.
I had a difficult start to motherhood - including a traumatic labour - with a long week in hospital, limited skin to skin and starting on bottles the first few days as both I and LB were too ill to nurse. As well as a scary admittance onto the Children’s Ward for 3 days, after only being home less than 12 hours.
It’s safe to say I had some PTSD/Post-Partum Depression from everything and an uphill battle to our feeding journey already!
Here at Bon + Bear we are all about making it easy for the new mama and making sure she feels supported wherever (and however) she chooses to nurse, because comforting your baby and boosting your confidence shouldn't be a compromise!
One thing which I always struggled with - even though I was more than happy to nurse in public - was the anxiousness of being ‘exposed' both by my nipple and my new, wobbly tum hanging out. I spent many outings finding a back corner of a coffee shop and shielding behind the pram, because I never wanted it to stop me from getting out of the house and socialising either, which is so important for your mental well-being. In addition, I always put off skin to skin time because I would constantly worry he would be too cold and with a revolving door of visitors or family in and out, I didn’t want to be semi-naked either.
The idea for The Maine Wrap (named after a special place to my heart) came out of a lot of despair when my breastfeeding journey was coming to an end around 6 months - after endless issues and tears - and after a particularly tough day (even on holiday!), I thought ‘no more tears, I need to help other Mamas so no-one feels like I did and they feel supported throughout’. On top of this we suffered with Colic, Reflux & CMPA pretty much from the outset so spent the 4th trimester (first 3 months) with very little sleep and a very an unsettled baby. After research, I learned that babywearing was proven to ease these symptoms and even increase the duration for which Mama's typically breastfeed. So I thought, there must be a way the wrap can do all 3 things seamlessly? This would be a lifeline for new Mamas!
Our first of many trips to Maine & Boston
I spent days sketching and writing up all my thoughts about how I could make this FOR the mama not the baby. To my husband’s dismay I borrowed one of his shirt to trial how the wrap would work for feeding initially, then purchased some fabric and started proto typing. Including using my baby’s playmat as a measuring table whilst he was sleeping, tweaking the length, the width, whether there would be a clasp or not and finally came upon the unique wrap method.
I knew I wanted the design to feel modern, easy to use and provide total privacy when breastfeeding/pumping but also a comfortable, adjustable fit. A style which meant I could nurse in whatever I wanted to wear, not detract from my own style and make me feel more ‘me’ – cue our Leopard print.
After lots of late nights, full time momming and working a full- time job I finally had our first batch of wraps cut, sewn and ready to package for our first orders. I started selling through word of mouth on Instagram, working with influencers and hoped through a wing and a prayer that they would sell.
To this day, I can’t quite believe I took the plunge to start this business; with all the credit to my husband for making me believe I can do it and giving me endless support to make it happen - but most importantly - for being my rock in that first year of motherhood to guide me through.
I still don’t know what constitutes success, but my only objective when I started this was to help at least one Mama and as long as I keep doing that then I will keep on growing this little company.
I ramble I know, but hopefully you made it this far…
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