Ex-cops in the baby busi­ness

Hamilton News - - NEWS - Ho­ri­ana Hen­der­son Win­tec jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Laura Lu­cas traded crim­i­nals to help new mums when she hung up her po­lice uni­form to cre­ate a rev­o­lu­tion­ary breast pump.

The breast pump mim­ics ex­actly the way a baby sucks when nurs­ing.

Ms Lu­cas, a for­mer Hamil­ton po­lice of­fi­cer, and fi­ance´ Todd Cairns, pre­vi­ously in the armed of­fend­ers squad, re­signed last month to fo­cus on fam­ily and their one-year-old busi­ness Milk­bar.

Ms Lu­cas’ sec­ond son was born early and was too tired to feed. Us­ing a breast pump to ex­press milk for him be­came nec­es­sary but she found it “in­cred­i­bly hard” to do. At the time she thought, “It’s 2017. There has to be some­thing bet­ter out there for me and other mums. Surely I’m not the only one out there ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this prob­lem?”

The dif­fi­cul­ties with ex­press­ing milk was emo­tional for Ms Lu­cas who had been a po­lice of­fi­cer for al­most a decade.

“I got so pas­sion­ate about want­ing to solve this prob­lem . . . I had this real strong urge to tackle it and give it my all.”

Ms Lu­cas wanted a pump that mim­icked what a nurs­ing baby does. Tra­di­tional pumps act like a vac­uum but a baby com­presses the nip­ple to draw milk from the duct.

“We were like ‘There has to be some way that we can get a pump to ac­tu­ally do that mo­tion’.”

The cou­ple found a com­pany to man­u­fac­ture the pump they wanted and started Milk­bar to sell it and other prod­ucts to help mums with feed­ing.

Ms Lu­cas said leav­ing their po­lice ca­reers to start the busi­ness has had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the fam­ily’s work-life bal­ance.

“[It’s] def­i­nitely been quite a cool change for our fam­ily be­cause with the po­lice we both were in spe­cial­ist squads so we were on­call all the time. We could get called out any time of the day and night.”

Ms Lu­cas said although run­ning a busi­ness while rais­ing two chil­dren could be chaotic some­times, it was “good chaos” and al­lowed them to have more time to­gether as a fam­ily.

Her big­gest high­light had been con­nect­ing with cus­tomers and help­ing those who were hav­ing the same dif­fi­cul­ties she had.

Quite a few times it has popped up on Face­book, with com­ments such as . . . ‘Eight months later and I’m still able to ex­press milk and able to breast­feed my baby and I can’t thank you enough’.

“And that’s tear-jerk­ing and it’s re­ally emo­tional for me be­cause I know what they’re talk­ing about. I’ve been there.”

This kind of feed­back led to Ms Lu­cas de­vel­op­ing a sup­port group on Face­book called Milk­bar Mum Chat for moth­ers to ask for ad­vice and as a plat­form for live in­ter­views with pro­fes­sion­als and ex­perts around baby re­lated top­ics.

“We sup­port mums in what­ever their jour­ney is.”

This week Ms Lu­cas dis­cov­ered the ad­vanced flow breast pump is a fi­nal­ist in the an­nual Oh­baby! awards. The awards spon­sored by the Oh­baby! mag­a­zine, recog­nise the best prod­ucts and ser­vices in the pregnancy and parenting mar­kets as voted for by mums and dads.

Vot­ing is open now. Win­ners will be an­nounced on Oc­to­ber 15.

Photo / Ho­ri­ana Hen­der­son

Milk­bar busi­ness owner Laura Lu­cas with son Tay­lor, six months, is sup­port­ive of mums.

Photo / Ho­ri­ana Hen­der­son

The Milk­bar ad­vanced flow breast pump is now on the mar­ket.

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