It’s something every pumping mom faces at one point or another in her journey – that moment of “How am I going to pump in this outfit without stripping down to my underwear?” If you’ve ever been away from home and trapped in an impossible-to-unzip or otherwise inconvenient top or dress with a screaming hungry baby, or if you’ve just been frustrated at the lack of fashion-forward, practical apparel for moms, you’re not alone!
Yoko Shimada, a mother of two and a public health professional advocating for maternal and child health, founded a stylish, functional clothing line for mothers called the Mitera Collection around this very idea. Her story, mission, and her designs are an inspiration, and we’re excited to share her unique perspective in a series of Q&A posts over the next few months, especially as we continue to celebrate the new resources available to working moms and employers on MedelaAtWork.com.
What should working moms look for in pumping-friendly clothing?
Yoko: I wanted to make beautiful, stylish clothes that would last through pregnancy, nursing and going back-to-work. The dresses are flexible, washable and have pockets. Functionality and versatility are important to me, as a mom. I recommend that all new moms, whether pregnant or recently postpartum, look for clothes that fit the following parameters.
- Style: Because what you wear affects your mood! You definitely want to feel confident, pretty and empowered in your clothes. As a new mom, your patience, physical endurance and mental capacity are tested to their limits, so it is extra important that you take care of yourself.
- Functionality: You wear many hats as a mom – you might be a professional, a wife, a sister, etc. Your clothes should serve you in all of your roles.
- Washability: Being a mom is messy. Your clothes should be washable and easy to take care of! No dry cleaning necessary.
- Sustainability/versatility: Your clothes should feel and look good through different phases of motherhood and the different situations you find yourself in, from a play date to a business meeting.
What is Mitera and why did you start the company?
Mitera focuses on making mothers feel beautiful, confident and empowered. The clothing we create is designed for women throughout motherhood, from pregnancy to nursing, pumping and beyond. I began the company after spending many years as a public health professional working to improve maternal and child health around the world for organizations like the World Bank and the Clinton Foundation. After giving birth, I quickly learned how challenging motherhood is. It was made even more difficult when I returned to work in a very professional office environment and wanted to continue breastfeeding. I couldn’t find clothes that met my need as a working, breastfeeding mom.
This need, my passion for my work, and my desire to make motherhood easier, more enjoyable, and more beautiful all went into the creation of Mitera five years ago. Right now, our clothes are available at miteracollection.com.
Stay tuned for our next interview with Yoko in the New Year! We’ll get into how she approached her own return to work and the advice she has for new moms. You can visit Mitera’s website to learn more about the collection and how they support mothers around the world through their Mother to Mother initiative.
What do you look for when shopping for pumping-friendly clothing? Share your tips in a comment below!