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Heidi Panelli
Fridley, MN
Member Since: 2003

"My baby girl and a missing mother’s room at work is what sparked the inspiration and motivation behind MilkMommy."

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My name is Heidi and I live in Minnesota with my husband, daughter and dog. My baby girl and a lack of a mother’s room at work is what sparked the inspiration and motivation behind MilkMommy.

How MilkMommy was born…

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006 was a tough day. After giving birth to my baby girl back in December, this would be my first day back to work…as a mother.

Every mom I’ve talked to agree the first day back to work is the worst. I was happy that our baby would be at home with my husband, but it would be the longest stretch of hours I spent away from her in 3 months. Three months of cuddling, rocking, and, of course, nursing.

Late morning rolled around and it was time for me to pump. I was shown to our “mother’s room” for the first time. My co-worker and I walked through our office building, through the hallway connecting to the warehouse, up the stairs to our upper office, through the upper office to the back door out to the warehouse, down another hallway and around a corner to what we affectionately call “the vault.”

The vault was the only available locked room in our building and is a 40’x20’ or so dusty storage room that houses archived files and old computer equipment. Picture file cabinets, warehouse shelving, a concrete floor and an unfinished ceiling. There was a dirty table (with a mouse turd on it!), an outlet under the table, and a folding chair. I wanted to go home.

I realized then and there that the “mother‘s room” would not improve unless I stepped up and did something myself. Since the work load was slow that week, I had time to clean things up. I got help moving some file cabinets to create a “cubicle” that could remain a permanent space for future moms. I found a smaller table, some baskets for reading material, a nice cushy office chair sitting in our storage area, a power strip to bring the outlet up on the table, a trash bin and more things as the week progressed.

I created a “Do Not Disturb” sign for the door and looked at those bare walls and thought I should order a few posters to cheer the place up. So I proceeded to look online for breastfeeding posters. The only thing I could find were activist posters with graphic photos of mothers breastfeeding and “in your face” slogans about how evil bottle-feeding is. These posters were simply too graphic for our workplace and wouldn’t help create the warm environment I was trying to achieve.

Finally the idea hit me to design and offer my own line of breastfeeding posters to other moms. Why not offer motivational posters, positive signs, magnets, gifts and more? Why not expand it to mugs and shirts with fun, tasteful designs? Why not sell breastfeeding products for the mom who isn’t an activist but who simply enjoys breastfeeding and loves her baby? Why not design shirts that don’t put down other moms for their feeding choices?

And so, with each pumping session up in the vault, I would daydream up ideas for this site.

Finally MilkMommy was formed. I’ll continue to grow it with new designs and aim to make it a one-stop shop for breastfeeding moms with style who want a little sunshine in their mother’s room at work or a fun slogan on a comfortable T-shirt…and maybe a few things for baby, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi Panelli

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