The YES! bra Story

“If you’d told “corporate” me on New Year’s Eve 2000 that I would be pregnant within 24 hours, I’d have laughed and suggested you not drive home! Here I am, three years later, with a magical son. If you’d told me that in the fall of 2001, overwhelmed by an emergency C-section and my first three breastfeeding blisters, that I would enjoy nursing so much that I would still be loving it more than 2 years later, I’d have been far less polite…”

But Christie does love breastfeeding and it is a family affair. Her husband, with a PhD in immunology and experimental medicine, can absolutely attest to the health benefits of breastfeeding. “Whenever I was tired from too much feeding, or sore, or thinking of giving up – he supported me and nurtured me. It made me realize that I could continue to support and nurture our son.” Her mother-in-law has been a maternity nurse in Vancouver for over 40 years, was a midwife and is perhaps the world’s best example of motherhood. “During our prenatal classes, we were asked who was going to be in the birthing room with us. I replied: “My husband and my mother-in-law”. You can only imagine the gasps and shock that ensued. I gather that very few moms-to-be are keen on having in-laws involved in the process!”

With her mother-in-law teaching her how to latch and helping the early blisters heal, and her husband encouraging her through the sometimes uncomfortable, swollen and leaky early days, Christie has been able to continue breastfeeding her son 4-6 times a day in spite of returning to work full-time after her year of maternity leave ended last fall. Noah turned 2 in autumn of 2003, so Christie is now in the “extended breastfeeding” category, and that brings a lot of mixed opinions.

“When I began nursing, I was very self-conscious and did all the things I now advise others DON’T do. I fed in dirty bathrooms while sitting on a toilet, so as not to offend restaurant patrons or people who felt uncomfortable with my decision to nurse our son. I put other people’s feelings and opinions above that of my son and myself. Now, I nurse openly but discretely, whenever our son tells me he wants to breastfeed.” Some people think she is crazy nursing a two-year old who talks and tells her to “find a quiet place”, to “sit down” and to “switch” breasts when one is empty. “Nearly 10 pounds and 2 feet tall at birth, Noah looks older than just-turned two and so people think I am nursing a pre-schooler and I have received some very disapproving glances and some open comments from folks who think breastfeeding is ONLY for babies.”

In June 2003, while breastfeeding, an idea came to her. With a drawer-full of expensive, ill-fitting and not-quite-perfect nursing bras, Christie decided to design and make her own nursing/maternity bra. Her goal was to make breastfeeding simpler by making it more comfortable and more affordable. “Breastfeeding is already substantially cheaper than formula, but some women see the initial investment in a few new bras as too costly. We decided that there was a place in the market for a new bra that was priced for women who didn’t know if they could nurse, or how long they could/would nurse.”

In fact, it was three friends who put their best ideas into the new YES! bra. Back at work, Christie wanted a nursing bra that would change sizes as she did from the 7:30 am feed to the 5:30 pm feed, so the bra is a stretchy, breathable blend of 97% cotton and 3% spandex. Even better, she insisted on an easy-open one-handed clasp because she had had enough of bras that forced her to put baby down and use both hands. The Jamaican partner chose a sports-bra style that has a wide, elastic “no roll” support band, side panels on all sizes and large back panel for comfort and good support. Mostly, however, they wanted the bra to be affordable and stylish so the Chinese friend in the venture chose a beautiful bamboo motif for the print, three popular colours (black, white and beige) and priced it at $24.95 CAD. If you don’t know how long you will nurse, price IS important and babies ARE expensive.

Christie talked to a lot of new moms, wore a number of different bras, and the three friends all put their own touches on the final design. “I had a few terrible bras, a few that were alright but only one that was good. I started off hoping to be able to nurse for 6-12 months but our son is now 27 months and I’m still breastfeeding 4-6 times a day. When you’ve nursed that many times, for that long continuously, the tolerance level for an “OK” bra disappears. If I wanted the perfect bra for me, I had to take the best of all the various bras I’d worn and create something new. Each time I nursed, I focused on what worked in the bra I was wearing, and what didn’t. All the things that worked for me are in the YES! bra.”

Christie and her friends have called it the YES! bra and the web address is which leads some people to assume she is a “Lactivist”. She says she is, and isn’t. “We called it YES! because we believe that we’ve created, finally, a bra that understands the needs of a breastfeeding mother. We think it is wonderful when mothers say yes to breastfeeding. We think all women should say yes to at least trying to breastfeed. The bra is made to be affordable so that you don’t have to pay $35-$70 for something you may only use for a short while.” If you end up loving breastfeeding like Christie and her son do, or encouraging breastfeeding like her husband and in-laws do, that’s great. If not, you don’t feel frustrated by another needless expense.

As for being a Lactivist, Christie wants all women to try breastfeeding and believes that all women CAN nurse. Here is her advice for all new moms:

“There is just so much unsolicited advice given to pregnant women I am almost afraid to say anything at all. I guess the thing I want to say most is to not worry so much. The human body is a magical and perfect creation. Not only will you give birth to a perfect human being, or at least a perfectly human being, you CAN breastfeed and nurture and sustain that child. Some babies don’t latch easily or take to nursing, some new mothers choose to or have to supplement with formula, some will find nursing a great pain but for others it is a complete joy. However, in the end, we CAN all breastfeed. In our developed, modern world, so many of us panic and stress about whether we can or can’t, or how long we will or won’t, or how it will work out, etc. Very few women in developing nations sit around before their babies are born and ask each other if they plan to nurse, and for how long. I think all women should say YES! Just try it and see. If you do it a week, a month, or two years – anything is better than not trying at all. The research is definitive about the health benefits, the bonding aspects, and the overall importance of breastfeeding to baby, family and society alike. I am grateful that I made it through the less than beautiful moments and the uncomfortable times. The “pain” was really quite short-lived! I really love the special connection that Noah and I enjoy when we’re in breastfeeding. I am so glad I said YES! and hope that this bra of ours helps others enjoy their decision as much as I have. “

The Lactivist parts comes in with the company’s decision to donate part of their profits to women’s and children’s charities. Laurie MacLachlan, VP of Sales for the YES! bra says. “All of us involved with this bra venture want a world where all women feel comfortable with their decision to breastfeed and get as much nurturing, love and support as they are giving. The philosophy behind the YES! bra is simple: you nurture your angel, and we’ll do our best to nurture you with a stylish, comfortable and affordable bra.”

We're constantly increasing the retail availability of the YES! bra. With online retailers added in the U.K. & Canada. As well as stores in Montana in the U.S. There are more ways everyday for you to try the YES! bra.


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