AN innovative product invented by a North East mum to save her clothes while breast feeding has added another award to its already lengthy list.
Breastvest has just been recognised with a bronze award in the LovedByParents Awards 2012 in the best product for breast feeding category – just in time for National Breast Feeding Week.
Newcastle-based Sam Telfer came up the idea while on maternity leave from her day job as a feature writer on The Journal, and runs the enterprise with friend and business partner Helen Preen.
“We both had babies together – I had Fred and she had Katie,” said Sam. “I invented it just for myself, then Helen saw it and said, ‘we could do something with this’.
“I launched it in May 2009, quite quietly to test the water. We had everything made in the UK to start with and we moved it to the Far East last year. She looks after the business development side of things and we had our best ever month in May.
“We launched just after the recession – it’s an austerity product because it turns any top into a breast feeding top.”
Sam, who is currently on maternity leave after having her second child Georgie, made a prototype Breastvest so she did not have to buy specialist breast feeding tops and could continue wearing her maternity tops without exposing her stomach while feeding her baby.
She said: “What I was looking for was a vest, without the breast-bit. The straps held it in place, and the vest – which needed to be a long one – covered my postnatal tummy.
“It meant I could wear normal tops, and just pull them up when I wanted to feed – and it didn’t interfere with my nursing bra.”
The idea took off and has won a number of awards, as well as being commended by celebrities, including This Morning presenter and mum Holly Willoughby.
The product has just been launched in France and Germany, and versions are currently with stockists in Australia and New Zealand.