By Kerrie Simon-Lawrence
Ask any breastfeeding mama and she will tell you that feeding in public can be uncomfortable, awkward and downright difficult. And that was exactly how Feeding Friend’s Amanda Rowe felt too, when she was trying to feed her second-born bebe Kayla, a few years ago.
“I struggled with anxiety while breastfeeding in public and developed Carpal Tunnel in both my hands. My doctor advised me to use a nursing pillow to help me relax, but there was nothing portable that offered unique support to suit my body and growing baby.”
Like millions of you mamas out there, Amanda didn’t cradle her bebe horizontally while nursing, so she needed arm support.
“I was shocked to find that the majority of pillows on the market only offer one level of support, especially as women are all different body shapes and sizes. I also questioned why all nursing pillows are big and bulky as women no longer stay at home and feed. I needed a pillow to suit my body and growing baby and something that was practical and portable enough to take with me on play dates, school runs and on those dreaded long haul flights.”
No amount of late-night Googling (while feeding of course!) uncovered what Amanda was looking for. On the verge of tearing her hair out, she visited a cut-to-measure store and bought a stack of foam.
“I cut it into pieces and used that for support. Then I narrowed it down to a shape that would adapt to different angles that I held my baby at, depending on how I was feeding and how I was sitting.”
That was Amanda’s ah-ha moment… surely there were other mamas out there who too had struggled as much as she had.
With her #BOSSMAMA hat on, Amanda worked on a unique wedge shape to offer flexible levels of support to the arm, wrist, hand and forearm while cradling a baby during bottle or breastfeeding or while enjoying cuddle time. Unlike flat pillows, Amanda wanted a pillow that could be positioned to support different feeding styles such as cross-legged feeds, foot-ball feeds, horizontal and the traditional cradle – a pillow that works as hard as you do!
The angled design was also intended to cater to women who needed more or less support than others due to differences in body shapes and sizes. “My husband Sam purchased a camping pillow to show me how [the self-inflatable aspect] works, and I used this concept to further develop the pillow I had created, to make it more portable and practical.”
After a series of prototypes, testing and tweaking, Feeding Friend was launched in 2016 at the Perth Pregnancies, Babies and Children’s Expo. The response was immediate. Suddenly, mamas could feed their babes in public, comfortable and all without the need to haul around a giant pillow. Welcome to modern mamahood!
With endorsements from Australian breastfeeding expert Pinky McKay, and midwife to the stars, Cathryn Curtin, as well as recent contracts with Target USA and Walmart, Feeding Friend has found itself at the top of every new mama’s must-buy list.