Discovering a lack of support on her own gentle parenting journey, Corryn Barakat was inspired to help other mums and mums-to-be on theirs. As well as feeling isolated and unsupported, she had struggled to find the products she needed as a breastfeeding mum, as well as breastfeeding-friendly clothing made from natural fabrics. Along with her husband Richard and their amazing Milk and Love team, they are all about enjoying motherhood with natural, eco-friendly solutions that make your life easier. With their handpicked range of stylish maternity wear, breastfeeding clothes, baby clothes and other beautiful items for mums and babies, they are dedicated to stocking beautiful brands, with a commitment to environmental and ethically responsible manufacturing.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Our driving passion at Milk and Love is to support new mums in their gentle parenting journey.
We aim to brighten their day with beautiful natural products and to provide evidence-based information via our blog and social media to support their gentle parenting journey. The driver for this mission was my own difficulties in finding natural clothing and products for early motherhood along with my rocky experience becoming a mother and feeling isolated and unsupported in my gentle parenting choices.
I had spent a lot of time researching my choices while I was pregnant and wanted to have a gentle, natural birth and early motherhood experience. I wanted to do my best to breastfeed for at least 24 months as per the World Health Organisation guidelines, and I wanted to practise attachment parenting including co-sleeping and baby wearing.
At the time, I did not think I was all that unusual, however as it turned out, I didn’t meet anyone else with similar ideals in my mothers’ groups, and I was the only person still breastfeeding past 12 months in my circle of friends. The health professionals I encountered were also unsupportive, from suggesting a bottle of formula for my 2-week-old baby (to help him sleep) to telling me to try cry-it-out sleep training.
In fact, I still have women visit us at Milk and Love who have struggled to connect with other similar-minded parents, and to find health professionals who support their choices.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
We were the first business in Australia to provide stylish breastfeeding-friendly clothes made with natural fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton. My first step was to source the styles from overseas. We connected with MEV, who were the only brand in the world that worked solely with natural fabrics.
In 2012, www.milkandlove.com.au launched with a small range of stylish breastfeeding clothes. It was also the home of our blog where we started sharing interviews with Katie James, IBCLC, on common breastfeeding issues. I shared my experiences on the blog and started sharing breastfeeding-friendly outfit ideas. Back then, we were quite unique with this kind of content, so our website started getting traffic.
I had all the clothes in our spare room and would pack orders in the evenings. Looking back now, it was a crazy time! Our second baby arrived in 2013 and I decided not to return to my corporate job so I could focus on the business and spend more time with my children.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Our biggest breakthrough was when we started adding more natural products to our range and incorporated unique Gift Boxes for mums and mums-to-be.
Our Gift Boxes are incredibly popular and have really helped our business to grow quite quickly, especially during the lockdowns in 2020! A lot of people wanted to send thoughtful care packages to loved ones who were pregnant or having a baby, or just wanted to brighten someone’s day. We were deeply honoured to be able to provide this service. Sending beautiful, thoughtful gift boxes is one of my favourite parts of the business!
We now stock a wide range of popular products for birth, breastfeeding and baby, and provide bestselling bundles to make life easier and more convenient for mums.