Meet our new team member, Liz, a new mum of a 9 month old boobie monster living on the Gold Coast. With a background in biomedical sciences, Liz has worn many hats as a researcher, dietitian, and a product manager, to name a few - but motherhood has been the most humbling and life-changing gig of all. Beautiful chaos and revelations of becoming a mum in today’s world have inspired Liz to embark on a journey to normalise breastfeeding and challenge societal perceptions of parenthood through.
We wanted to sit down for a cosy chat with Liz to get to know more about her and her own blossoming breastfeeding story.
Q: Hi Liz! Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a bit about you and who makes up your family? We'd love to hear about how you became a Mama!
Honestly, I’m a bit of a “Jack of all trades” - although hoping that I’ve mastered at least some of them! I think the new term to discuss my professional life is a “multipotentialite”, which does have a better ring to it!
I’m a qualified scientist, a uni-graduate dietitian, a product manager, and a certified makeup artist (not to mention an odd hospitality job here and there). I’m also a PhD dropout - which I may get to fix one day, who knows!
In terms of hobbies, I am an aspiring aerialist (silks, lyra and dance trapeze are my jam), an amateur but passionate sewist, and an all-round crafty person. I love making pretty things with my hands, which may be a neat way to sum it all up.
But most recently - I am a mother of an adorable 8 month old baby boy, and while having him was totally planned, it turned our family (previously consisting of myself, my husband and some seriously adorable pets) upside down in all sorts of ways.
My pregnancy was a smooth sailing, and I was in good hands of an amazing team from the local Midwifery Group Practice. I’ve felt pretty supported and encouraged throughout my pregnancy journey apart from an odd pandemic-related hiccup in the public system here and there, and my birth went as smoothly as a birth can. A control freak inside me was very excited that everything went to plan, and I had a natural, no-intervention water birth, going home only 6 hours after.
Except, of course, this was the easy part…then came bringing the baby home.
Q: Many women say they feel really totally unprepared and unsupported in their first breastfeeding journey. Was this the case for you? What are the things that surprised you?
I always knew that I was going to breastfeed unless any health complications prevented me from doing so. I moved to Australia nearly a decade ago - but my background is Russian, and culturally breastfeeding is very much normal.
But I am an only child myself, and have never really been around babies - and neither has been my husband. And while mum breastfed me, it wasn’t a super long journey, as due to some incorrect old-school advice I was off the boob at 10 months old. As for my mother-in-law, she used to be a midwife a few decades ago - but that was at a time of scheduled feedings, bottles and starting solids at 3-4 months of age.
So in terms of modern breastfeeding advice, I had a very vague idea of what awaits. Engorgement, endless cluster feeding, entirely sleepless nights, cracked nipples, all while recovering from birth with minimal support except for my husband’s (my family live overseas, and in-laws have been going through some very serious personal stuff at the time)…not going to lie, I did feel exhausted, confused and baby-trapped.
It didn’t help that most “mainstream” advice felt wrong to me - but initially I had very little information available that would validate my feelings and choices.
As a result of all those things dawning on me at once, my 4th trimester was quite hellish. I slipped pretty deeply into postpartum anxiety and depression. I felt like I’m doing everything wrong and am not being a very good mother to this tiny new life I’ve just brought into the world.
It was also incredibly hard to get help, as my GP wasn’t taking my concerns seriously and kept saying it’s just baby blues and the like. But I knew it wasn’t and kept advocating for myself, and fortunately eventually found a GP who had formalised my diagnosis so I was able to access help.
And after all that, the therapist I started working with happened to be very family and attachment-parenting oriented. She was able to share lots of information and science with me, and suddenly it all made sense. Not only I started feeling better, but I also realised that I’m not in fact insane, and my mothering instinct can be trusted.
Q: Ok so 5 months into your hazy parenting adventure and you start advocating for the things “you wish you’d have known from the beginning and are figuring out as you go” can you touch on these points?
I feel like one way or another, my “calling” has always revolved around empowering women and helping them navigate societal issues limiting their progress.
For example, working as a dietitian, my main focus has been restoring a healthy relationship with food, body positivity, and helping my clients overcome disordered eating patterns.
So having untangled a huge mess of what motherhood actually entails vs what the society often tells us it should look like, I started feeling the urge to help others see things through the same prism - ideally feeling informed and prepared before giving birth.
The biggest problem is that much of the parenting advice appears to - and this will sound extreme, but hear me out - benefit capitalism more than it benefits babies and mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until the baby is 6 months old, for example; and until 12 months of age, breast milk should ideally remain the primary source of nutrition - yet, look at how little paid parental leave is available (and not even to all categories of workers).
Then, upon returning to work, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed mothers feel the pressure to sleep train their babies. Yet, it’s completely biologically appropriate for babies to have night feeds until 1 year of age, and not uncommonly, beyond.
Another big part of this all is convincing already scared and confused parents that their babies are “broken”, and then selling all sorts of crazy things to “fix” them. A few thousand dollars for a self-rocking bassinet, anyone?
It just doesn’t make any sense. Babies are our next generation - and yet, their needs are so routinely overlooked, together with the mothers’. It’s like we’re expected to have babies but then pretend they don’t exist
And I’m not saying that realising those things or even actively advocating for them will make a difference overnight. I went back to work (from home - but still) when bubs was 6 months of age - and not from a burning desire to do so. But I believe that having this perspective helps make informed parenting choices, knowing whether they actually benefit your family or just make someone else’s pocket fatter.
Q: What propelled you to email us and have interest in joining the OMM Label team?
A friend forwarded me this post - she’s not even breastfeeding, she just loved the message behind it and wanted to share. Coincidentally, as you can see evidence of right there in the comments, it was my birthday month too - and I was looking to get some nice things for myself…so I went on browsing the website.
And the whole thing just sort of clicked with me and made me feel fuzzy.
A mission to make breastfeeding comfortable, effortless, visible, and enjoyable.
Fashion-forward, quality breastfeeding clothes with slogans and puns that actually made me smile.
Ethical manufacturing and genuine brand values.
And a mother behind it all, who clearly knows what she’s talking about. And this seems trivials, as you’d think that all women-oriented businesses are powered by women…but oftentimes it’s actually a bunch of male executives telling women what they should be.
As a whole, the brand didn’t just evoke a feeling (which can often happen with quality marketing) - it was clearly beyond that, and it WAS exactly what it said it was. So I thought I’d shoot a line (or a few hundred lines) to express my admiration and see if maybe I could put my skills to use here!
Q: I was asked this question in a recent podcast interview and would love your answer to “What would the you before Motherhood say to the you, in all that you are, now?”
This will sound super tacky, but “trust yourself”. By cutting out the noise, relaxing into motherhood and following your baby, you will find your rhythm much quicker.
Of course, modern lifestyles make it easier said than done. Often, there’s not much of a village, and the expectations placed on mothers are probably higher than ever.
But as much as possible, it’s so important and liberating to just “be”.
Thanks so much for joining us, Liz! We look forward to hearing more from you on our Instagram page.
Interview by Ophi