Founder of MLM Brand Magda Lasota: On Fashion for Breastfeeding Moms
Magda Lasota is changing the world of fashion, one breastfeeding mom at a time. As a new mom returning to work, she realized quickly there was a gap in the market when it came to fashionable office attire that was also breastfeeding friendly. Out of her frustration, MLM Brand was born and the LBD (Little Breastfeeding Dress) with it. The mom of two shares how her maternity fashion brand serves breastfeeding moms and tells us what she learned about parenting along the way.
Magda, tell us about you and your company, MLM Brand:
I’m a mom of two boys and our family currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Born out of a desire for better, elevated, and more chic postpartum-friendly clothes, I created MLM Brand to fill a void in the maternity fashion market. The majority of maternity fashion brands focus on the pregnancy period, however, the selection of functional and stylish clothes suitable for postpartum (that are also breastfeeding-friendly) continues to be scarce. I was a new mom working full time away from my baby and I was determined to provide breastmilk for my son.
Breastfeeding was hard, but finding clothes that were breastfeeding-friendly was even harder! When I had to go back to work at the end of my maternity leave, I couldn’t find a nursing and pumping-friendly dress that could take me through my busy day. With a background in research and passion for fashion, I created our first dress, the Little Breastfeeding Dress — an elegant, functional and chic breastfeeding-friendly dress that can be worn to the office, and beyond. Designed, tested and perfected with the help of moms in my Chicago community, this style quickly became our bestseller.
Over the next three years, I invested my savings and all of the revenue back into the business. I've added three more styles and I'm currently working on adding a few more with a goal of creating a carefully curated postpartum capsule wardrobe for moms. All of our pieces are made in the USA by a small team of women (most of them mothers!) who earn a fair living wage. As a mom, I know breastfeeding can be hard but I believe that getting dressed for it doesn’t have to be!
How does supporting mothers align with the Mission of your brand?
Breastfeeding-friendly clothes might not be the first thing new moms think about when they first give birth and plan to breastfeed. I know it wasn’t for me! When I had to return to work after having my first son, all I had was a basic nursing bra and a hospital grade breast pump. Unless I wore pants and a button down shirt, I had to completely undress every time I had to pump for my baby, tucked away in the company’s supply closet. I missed wearing dresses and “normal” clothes that made me feel like “me". From chatting with moms in my community, I knew other moms shared my sentiment! As new moms, we wanted to have options while getting dressed in the morning for a busy day in and out of the office, without compromising our style and comfort. At MLM Brand we focus on supporting new moms by designing beautiful and functional clothes that make breastfeeding anywhere and anytime, easier.
What was the most unexpected part of your own motherhood journey?
I’ve been a mom for almost a decade, and looking back now, I see how unprepared I was for motherhood. Guided by experts and people I trusted, I focused extensively on the pregnancy period and the well-being of the little human inside of my belly, but did very little to ensure I had the right support after giving birth. Why is it that no one told me to prepare for postpartum and breastfeeding, just as much as I prepared for birth? I experienced postpartum depression (undiagnosed for years!), and the loneliness, busyness and boredom that came with caring for an infant. These unexpected feelings were compounded by having a husband in medical training and balancing my new SAHM role (and identity!), while also launching an e-commerce business. The intensity and heaviness of it all was unexpected, as I naively thought everything could be fixed by my unconditional love for my perfect newborn. I couldn’t understand why we, as a society, didn’t talk more about the reality of postpartum care and the lack of support for new parents in the US. It seemed like everyone around me was doing it somehow, yet I struggled a lot! Mothering without a village felt hard, and I slowly filled that void with mom friends who understood me and my journey as a mother and an entrepreneur. Hearing the stories of other moms made me feel seen, understood and less alone, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that in order to embrace and enjoy my own motherhood journey.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom and business owner?
New mothers deserve mothering. It’s shocking to me how in our culture we focus so much on pregnancy, yet new mothers receive so little support in the postpartum period. At MLM Brand our mission is to create beautiful, functional and feeding-friendly clothes moms want and love to wear after giving birth. I have to admit that when I first found out I was pregnant, I immediately ordered several bump-friendly dresses, shirts and pants. In the upcoming months, I also filled my baby’s closet with teeny-tiny baby outfits. He outgrew most of them before we even got a chance to put them on him, ha! When it came to my postpartum preparation, I had a couple of basic nursing bras and a frumpy, nursing-friendly gown. When it was time to leave for doctor appointments and our first mommy and me classes, I didn't know how to dress. Again, I neglected my own needs because I was too focused on making sure my baby had everything they needed. I love Matrescence’s mission to “mother the mother” because it shifts the focus to the needs of a new mom. New mothers deserve to be held, pampered and supported just as much!
How does MLM Brand’s support of the breastfeeding mother play into her overall wellness?
MLM Brand is a women-built, mission led company offering fewer, elevated maternity pieces that embody timeless design, functionality, and sustainability. Our pregnancy and feeding-friendly wardrobe gives a new mom the flexibility, comfort and peace of mind to focus on what truly matters in those early months of postpartum — her young family. There’s so much we tend to worry about as new parents and at MLM Brand we hope finding stylish, comfortable feeding-friendly clothes isn’t one of them!
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for moms, and how do you help manage them?
Accepting that motherhood can be beautiful and messy, often at the same time, is something I see most moms struggle with. When we become mothers, we are told to “love our baby” and “enjoy every moment” because it goes by so fast. We all know the “days are long but the years are short” sentiment. And yes, sure, we love our babies and there are so many magical moments, but I also wish someone told us that nothing will ever be the same, that our brain and our hearts will always be occupied with our babies. I wish that someone told us that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness and that we as mothers deserve to be held and supported. By sharing and amplifying each mother’s unique experience, at MLM Brand we strive to support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey of motherhood.
What are your expert tips on how to make the breastfeeding journey easier for new moms?
Every breastfeeding journey is unique. Though breastfeeding is natural, it’s not a given! I breastfed two babies and had two completely different feeding journeys: a combination-feeding journey with my first that lasted 16 months and a two-year long exclusive nursing journey with my second son. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and I want to tell you this, mama: celebrate your journey, document every nursing or pumping session, take ALL the pictures and give yourself a big hug for how well you’re doing.
Breastfeeding is hard and it isn’t all or nothing! Whether you breastfed for a week, six months, or two years — your worth as a mother isn’t measured in ounces of breastmilk produced. Every breastfeeding journey deserves to be celebrated! At MLM Brand, we support breastfeeding, but not when it comes at the price of a mom’s mental health. Fed baby + happy mama is what matters the most.
When someone works with MLM Brand, what do you hope they'll take away about parenting?
That there’s no one “right” way to be a parent (and that includes the various ways we feed our children), and it’s important to do what works for you and your family. At MLM Brand we support all parents. We’ve build a beautiful, judgment free community of and for moms who choose to nurse, pump, supplement with formula, and we celebrate ALL mothers. Helping them feel and look their best in this new chapter, one (breastfeeding-friendly) dress at a time!