Mothership Milk Founder Kayleigh Harrigan On Finding a Solution for Nursing Moms

Mothership Milk Founder Kayleigh Harrigan On Finding a Solution for Nursing Moms

When Kayleigh Harrigan moved across the country as a nursing mom, she was unable to transport her frozen breastmilk, and started wondering why there wasn’t a better way. So she created a solution:  the former birth and postpartum doula and student midwife founded Mothership Milk, an organization which freeze dries your breastmilk, providing moms with both the nutrition of breastmilk and the convenience of formula. She chatted with us at Matrescence on serving new moms, embracing matrescence, and the elusive search for balance: 


Kayleigh, tell us about you:

Hi! My name is Kayleigh Harrigan and I am a former birth and postpartum doula, student midwife and the founder of Mothership Milk.


What did becoming a mom look like for you?

I gave birth when I was 85% finished with my clinical rotations in midwifery school and living in Los Angeles. After my babe was born, the on-call nature of being a doula and apprenticing midwife felt like too much, and I decided to take a step back from birth work to focus on my family. I yearned for quiet and nature and my little fam and our pack of rescue dogs decided to relocate to small-town Michigan to embrace slow(er) living.


What helps you enjoy the journey - especially on the hard days?

Remembering that this is all just a fleeting season and the simultaneous heartbreak and relief that comes with that reality. 


How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom?

Working in the perinatal field, I have devoted large components of my life's work to this very objective. It's actually kind of surprising that I don't already have this tattooed somewhere or at the very least, own a large bumper sticker in celebration of this cause. 

Ultimately, I want to make mainstream the understanding that matrescence is a rite of passage that is deserving of care, recognition, celebration and support. I feel incredibly grateful that I went into motherhood knowing that it was okay to seek out and ask for help, and that relying on others to walk with me through this transformation was not a sign of weakness.

What is your favorite part about motherhood? What is the most challenging part?  

My favorite part is experiencing the world anew through my child's eyes; the wonder, the curiosity, the complete and total attention to the present moment, the magic in the seemingly mundane. The most challenging part is regulating my own emotions. 


What struggles have you encountered finding balance? How do you navigate them?

When we moved across the country, I was unable to bring my frozen breastmilk with me because it was too challenging to transport. But this got me thinking…what solutions can I offer to ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone else? 

My research led me to freeze-drying and I started experimenting with my own pumped milk. Once I realized how much easier it made my life, I was hell-bent on making it available to other families and dove head first into launching Mothership Milk. Re-entering the workforce full-time as head of a start-up, while simultaneously caring for an infant made me feel spread thin in all departments - it felt like nothing was receiving 100% of the love and attention that it deserved. 

After ruminating on this for a while and then finally realizing how much time this negative self-talk was taking from my already limited schedule, I decided to choose surrender. My life was vastly different than it once was and I figured that leaning into this new reality was the path of least resistance and the most joy. While nowhere near perfect, accepting that I literally could not do it all afforded me some peace and much needed work-life balance


What is the best advice you received about parenting and who did you get it from?

I lean heavily into mantras, especially when I'm feeling dysregulated. For example, "he's not trying to give me a hard time, he's having a hard time," or "how you speak to your child becomes their inner voice." These simple sentences encapsulate what I would like to embody in my parenting and I was fortunate enough to garner these little slices of wisdom through the gentle parents I've had the pleasure of working with in my career.

Follow Kayleigh on Instagram


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