We talk to women who are forging innovative businesses in rural Ireland. Today, we talk to Katie Mugan of Nursing Mama whose experience of working with breastfeeding mothers in Australia sparked the idea for a business.
When ACORNS alumni Katie Mugan was working as a paediatric nurse in Ireland, her exposure to breastfeeding babies was limited.
But a move to Melbourne, Australia, in 2006 opened her eyes to the supports available to new mothers with breastfeeding.
“I still see so many mothers struggling with breastfeeding. Many are still receiving conflicting advice and feeling completely overwhelmed and lost”
This sparked a new passion in Katie and the seed of inspiration to launch her own business helping mothers and newborns to have a more positive breastfeeding experience.
When she returned to Ireland in 2013, Katie retrained as a public health nurse to support new parents. During her time as a public health nurse, Katie saw how many mothers struggled with breastfeeding and were left feeling confused and overwhelmed by conflicting information given by different health care professionals.
Katie saw a demand for better antenatal education and quickly realised she wanted to specialise in lactation. In 2018, she decided to take the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam.
Strength to strength
When she became fully certified, she launched Nursing Mama in August 2019. Based in Naas, Co Kildare, Nursing Mama offers online Breastfeeding Preparation classes, Newborn Care classes and a Weaning from Breastfeeding workshop.
“I still see so many mothers struggling with breastfeeding. Many are still receiving conflicting advice and feeling completely overwhelmed and lost,” says Katie.
“Mothers not recognising the warning signs when breastfeeding is not going well and babies with large weight losses are still a frequent occurrence. The need for better education antenatally so Mothers can be better equipped with practical knowledge when their baby arrives is essential.”
The business has gone from strength to strength since launching and Katie has acquired 10,000 followers on Instagram. Delivering classes online has allowed her to expand her clientele internationally, with clients in Australia and the UK, as well as all over Ireland.
ACORNS is a Government-supported programme designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Women in rural Ireland with new businesses or at least with well-developed ideas are being invited to join ACORNS 7.The ACORNS programme is designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the voluntary contribution of time by Lead Entrepreneurs, there is no charge for those selected to participate.
Katie found the peer support through ACORNS brilliant. She credits the programme with giving her the knowledge on the basics of running a business and helping her to focus on where she wants to take the business over the next few years.
“ACORNS has been such an amazing experience, the advice and support from the other ACORNS and from our Lead Entrepreneur has been hugely beneficial and allowed us to share our ideas and ultimately grow our businesses.”
Her plan now is to develop online modular breastfeeding classes and continue to support mothers and babies on their lactation journey.
The call is now open for applicants for ACORNS 7 and 50 female entrepreneurs from across the country will be selected to participate. Anyone interested in receiving an application form ahead of the September 10, 2021 deadline for ACORNS 7 should register their interest here