The Memo - a stylish retail edit of goods for parents and babies - set up shop in the middle of Melbourne’s premier shopping strip on High St Armadale last year. With their online store already catering to customers Australia wide, Phoebe co-founded the retail destination before going on to have her own baby.
Now stepmum to Tyler, 6 and Remy, 1, Phoebe has her head set firmly on tackling topics that affect women and mothers. The Memo has become a space for her to do that - whether it’s creating an in-store dedicated feeding room at their flagship location, or talking about the realities facing women today - from the true cost of childcare to knowing your rights as a breastfeeding employee.
“The Memo has created a space for parents to share truly how they are feeling…during a time that can be filled with trepidation, we want it to be a really positive space,” Phoebe says.
“We tell it like it is. Some days are going to be hard and some days are going to be fun.”
Some of the days that were distinctly ‘not fun’ were the latter half of her pregnancy, where Phoebe was bed-bound by a high-risk pregnancy condition called Cervical Insufficiency that meant she was at risk of going into labour at any time. A cervical stitch at 21 weeks miraculously kept Phoebe’s baby in place until full term - counting down the days and weeks while working on her 2 businesses from bed and managing pick-ups of her stepson Tyler with friends and family that rallied around to help.
Incredibly, Phoebe went to term but the experience was one no amount of time working in the baby industry could prepare her for. The same could be said for breastfeeding, but for Phoebe the experience was largely positive and she can attest to exactly why that is.
“The first few days were incredibly painful before my milk came in - for a few days after I had massive cement boobs. There was so much milk, they were so, so heavy and uncomfortable - but the midwives lactation consultants really helped me learn how to breastfeed and we got into a good rhythm.”
And herein lies much of what informs Phoebe’s viewpoint on feeding support and how the impact of having access to lactation guidance was a key driver in establishing breastfeeding.
“It was critical to establish - I have so much respect for women who figure it out at home,” says Phoebe of many mothers who are out of hospital 48 hours after giving birth. “It takes a certain amount of resilience and persistence. I took a lot of comfort in the support of these experts around me and I don’t think it would have been the same experience if I hadn’t had it,” she recalls.
“It was definitely a privilege being in a private hospital and it was one I took really seriously when it came to what kind of care I wanted in that postpartum period. They were critical in helping me establish my ability to breastfeed effectively.”
When Phoebe went back to work at three months, she began mix-feeding.
“I liked breastfeeding in that it worked for me and it’s efficient. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but it’s something I could do and was an efficient form of feeding so it worked for us. We were keen to introduce the bottle as soon as possible so I could get a little bit of independence back,” she says.
Having a baby store at her disposal means she has been able to really refine exactly what women need postpartum and to help their feeding journey. From breast pumps to nipple shields, bottles and teats for all flows and even formula, The Memo truly embodies what it means to embrace and support all feeding journeys and truly do baby your way.