When Alicia Segal gave birth to her son Kai, a midwife wheeled in a bulky electric breast pump with tangled cords and gave “a quick and complicated run down” on its operation.
“There I was, four days postpartum, crawling around on the floor to find a powerpoint behind the hospital bed, trying to untangle the cords and decipher the pump settings,” she said.
“I knew there had to be a better way for new mums to express breast milk.”
That gave her and her husband Ari the idea to create their business Bubka, producing a hands-free, portable and wearable electric breast pump for mums to express on the go.
As a new business started in Alicia and Ari’s living room, without the resources to spread the word, the couple initially faced “countless rejections and closed doors”.
“Early into our launch, we got an endorsement on Instagram from [athlete] Jana Pittman. And things just took off. We sold out straight away,” Alicia said.
“What I loved about that situation is that I was packing orders while wearing my Bubka. You can pump and pack with Bubka.”
Over the last year, the business has received incredibly positive feedback.
“We have mums reaching out telling us how life-changing it’s been for them to have a Bubka hands-free pump, that they’re pumping while on walks or at coffee with their mothers’ group,” Alicia said.
“Or for second-time mums, that they wish they had had it the first time round with their older kids. It sounds cliche but we love to know that we’re making a difference.
“Being a mum with a young bub can be isolating but if our pump was able to help to reduce that isolation or that feeling of being ‘stuck’ to a wall with an ever-growing to-do list, then we knew we were doing something right.”
When World Breastfeeding Week came around earlier this month, the Bubka founders wanted to do something to give back. As fans of the Sweet Chick, they decided to collaborate with Rebecca Balkin, the founder of the Surry Hills bakery, to produce a limited edition kosher lactation cookie.
The freshly baked cookies contain milk-boosting galactagogues, including flax seeds and oats, both of which are known to contribute to increasing milk supply. They are also preservative free.
“They’re a perfect snack while you’re on the go – especially while breastfeeding,” Alicia said.
Twenty per cent of the proceeds from the cookies will go to River’s Gift, Australia’s only charity that is exclusively focused on Sudden Infant death Syndrome (SIDS), and Gidget Foundation Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents and ensures they receive timely, appropriate and specialist care.
The couple said it is important that what they do has a social benefit.
“We have stayed true to our mission of providing innovative and sustainable products that empower new mums,” Alicia said.
“All our accessories are reusable and our protective packaging is made from ocean waste. We are currently in talks with our manufacturer about how we can incorporate our new pump range parts into the circular economy.”
Place your cookie order by Tuesday, August 22: bubka.co/products/bubka-x-sweet-chick-cookies-limited-edition