…3, 2, 1, Blast Off!

final-prototype

For the past seven years, my mom and I have been working hard to see our dream become a reality. We are so excited to finally say it is ready and it is time to launch the millybutton! October 1st we will launch our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and the millybutton will be available for pre-orders.

It is not easy to go from a sketch to a physical prototype. Anyone can dream but it takes a lot of creativity, hard work, time, money, patience, passion, and guts to make it a reality.

But when it finally starts coming together, it’s nothing short of magic.

And needless to say, we have learned a lot along the way.

In addition to getting a variety of opinions and ideas from other moms, Millybutton’s concept was honed thanks to us getting lots of hands-on experience. We have studied magnets, plastics, manufacturing styles, production ability, and safety…We’ve melted plastic beads in the oven, experimented with glue; the list goes on!

We experienced numerous problems with the first prototypes. From its size posing a possible choking hazard, to discovering that our magnets were so strong one erased the hard drive on a mother’s laptop—it’s been quite a journey.

As if that wasn’t enough, it took us four years to secure our US Utility Patent. FOUR years! Many people would have thrown in the towel, and for good reason. But my mom and I never gave up.

We kept at it! Slowly, things started to turn around. We learned about silicone. We began to make new prototypes—but this time, we prototyped with the manufacturer.

Our first foray into silicone was literally sticky. Hair kept getting stuck to it. It was gross. Also, the straps were too thin. Then, for the second prototype, the texture went from being too sticky to too rough, AND the straps were now somehow too short. In addition, the Millybutton was colorless and looked like a jellyfish. Why? Because we could not decide on a color.

prototypes

But, after six months of prototyping it turned out to be a success.

I have to say that our Pittsburgh manufacturer was key to our success. They are a women-owned business, which is the icing on the cake for us, as we love the idea of a product made by moms, for moms. Thanks to them, the Millybutton won’t just be made in the USA, but in our hometown of Pittsburgh! Not having to wait for the product to ship from overseas also benefits our customers, and we will be able to keep up with our anticipated Amazon Launchpad orders.

The development team of product designers and engineers were successful in their material selection. They made millybutton safe & affordable. It’s nontoxic, medical grade, can be sterilized in a medical facility—or you can just throw it in the dishwasher if you need to.

In short: We did it!

Thank you all for believing in us. Your encouragement, enthusiasm and support will never, ever be forgotten.

Hey mom—I am so proud of us! What a journey it has been. I can’t believe we actually did it!

Now it’s just a countdown to launch!

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The Millybutton Logo: A Symbol of a Supermom

MB long logo BW dark

If you’re at all familiar with Millybutton, you know that it was created by moms, for moms.

But did you know that we make it our goal to utilize as many local women-owned businesses and mother-entrepreneurs as possible?

Our motto, “Let’s face it, what mother doesn’t need an extra hand!” was Inspired by the famous Robert G. Ingersoll phrase, “We rise by lifting others.”

Those phrases inform every aspect of what we do at Millybutton. We truly believe an empathetic business model works for everyone.

Working with women in the Pittsburgh community has proven to be one serendipitous meeting after another. They have inspired and empowered us with their talents, enthusiasm, and commitment to helping others. Millybutton—and our lives in general—have been made better because they are a part of it!

As you know, our Millybutton journey, though a profound experience, has been filled with intense twists and turns. A while back, the manufacturer we work with told me that they needed a logo as soon as possible…and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it! I was, needless to say, completely panicked.

As you can imagine, a logo is EXTREMELY important because it is the face and symbol of a company, so I was trying to be as thorough and careful as possible when developing it. I worked with students at a local university in order to determine the criteria for the logo, and it was workshopped many, many times. But still, nothing was working. I even took a stab at creating it myself, drawing boobs, nipples and bellybuttons until I ran out of paper. But despite my best efforts, I could not sell myself—or anyone else for that matter—on the designs.

But then, Brigette Davitt, our graphic designer, came to my rescue. She is a breastfeeding super-mom and was home on maternity leave taking care of her 2-month old son when she took on the unenviable task of coming up with our logo. After she was finished, I sat down, took one look what she had created, and knew that it was perfect. She was able to identify with Millybutton and our mission better than anyone else!

And now, thanks to Brigette’s hard work, I am so excited to share the Millybutton logo with all of you! We love our new logo and hope you do too, but we also want it to represent more than just Millybutton. We hope that our logo will become recognizable symbol for breastfeeding mothers. We want it to celebrate their commitment to providing the best nourishment for their child, and to remind them that they are not alone in their breastfeeding journey. Millybutton is a product created with love. It is by moms, for moms, and should be worn with pride.

Breasfeeding Product Development

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For the Love of Lactating!!! A Breastfeeding Story

Embracing my Stink Boob, Neenees, and Boobas

When my first baby was born, I was basically clueless about what breastfeeding would be like. I took a prenatal class and studied Lamaze and blankly stared at my mom when she said that doctors in her day suggested “toughening” up her nipples with a rough cloth before the baby was born.

Say what?

Needless to say, I went into the experience pretty blind, with my sights on an un-medicated birth and, naturally, breastfeeding. Things went alright in the hospital; I recall deliriously looking at my new little person and trying to figure out how her tiny little nose could manage to get air while she was pressed up to my breast. I had lactation counseling support and no significant latch issues…except for the fact that I was so innately concerned about my baby getting fed that I would push through pain even if she wasn’t quite latched correctly.

Heading home from the hospital was exciting! And then my milk came in.

I have a vivid memory of ugly crying with my nursing bra unhooked, my enormous (for me) breasts exposed to whichever family member might attempt to help me through my hormonal breakdown. I was healing from the birth, engorged, exhausted, my baby wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in my arms, and the fear of SIDS or some other catastrophe had taken over my thoughts.

Things had definitely gotten real.

Thankfully, after a week or so of baby and I getting to know each other (and sleeping in the middle of the queen mattress without blankets, on my back, with her in the middle of my chest; it worked for her and seemed “safe” enough for my anxiety) we settled into a routine of nursing on demand—basically every 1.5 hours around the clock. It was the only thing that would comfort her and I went with it.

Amidst adjusting to life as parents, my husband and I named my right breast “stink boob” because it would leak more than the other and my nursing pads on that side would get a sour milky scent. We would laugh and it was better than crying over the roller coaster of emotions, physical pain, and exhaustion I had been through postpartum.

Physically, breastfeeding did get easier over time, and I really enjoyed nursing my first-born as a toddler. She called them “nee nees” and offered my breast to many of her stuffed animals and dolls. I breastfed her until she was over two, my second I nursed for eight weeks (another story), and I am still feeding my third child, now a toddler, with my “boobas.”

Marie P.

To share your breastfeeding story, contact us.

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