The Birth of Maman Gâteau

UK Handmade Portfolio member, Cindy Theodore tells us about the inspiration for Maman Gâteau and how it came into being.

Maman Gâteau, which is a sweet term meaning ‘doting mother’ in French, provides stylish baby essentials with an African-print twist, allowing mums to be out and about with an air of confidence.

Maman Gateau java breastfeeding cover

Back in 2012, when pregnant with my first son, I found myself self-conscious when faced with the thought of breastfeeding my new baby in public. Passionate about African fashion, I was unable to find any baby essentials, such as dribble bibs or breastfeeding covers made with African prints. One day I decided to embark on intensive sewing classes, experimenting with using African Dutch wax print, to make my own breastfeeding cover. With my son still wriggling in my belly, I walked around London and browsed the internet looking for decent African fabric suppliers until I finally discovered a few good ones in the UK and abroad.

Maman Gateau starlet changing mat

I started off small, making Maman breastfeeding covers for myself, family and friends. I couldn’t believe how easy and relaxed breastfeeding in public could be. There was no risk of flashing at strangers, and being able to see my baby while he suckled was amazing. Maman breastfeeding covers meant no more planning days around breastfeeding times, and gave me the freedom and confidence to just get out and about – I haven’t looked back since.

As a breastfeeding mother, I have seen first-hand the power and benefits of physical closeness to both mother and baby and want other mums to feel similarly empowered and confident wherever they nurse their baby.

Maman Gateau Autumn nursing cover

Using a Maman breastfeeding cover gives mothers the freedom to breastfeed anywhere. The semi-rigid neckline enables them to maintain eye contact with their babies, keeping baby from being distracted. The covers, which are handmade in London, are designed for comfort and convenience. They’re made from 100% ultra soft, breathable cotton and have a fully adjustable neck strap. At 36 inches wide by 24 inches long, not only can the nursing cover be used for breastfeeding, it can also be used in other ways, such as a stroller cover from the sun or car seat cover.

Maman Gateau Monkey Pulpe

I chose to use African prints because they are always bold and rich in colour and have their own exotic styles - they create a feeling of happiness and cheer wherever they go.

The Maman cover received such positive feedback that I decided to spin it into a business by making to order, and (along with my son) Maman Gâteau was born. I have since developed our range further and expanded into bandana dribble bibs, travel changing mats, baby bodysuits and baby dresses.

Maman Gateau Bib

Whilst growing my business I also wanted to give something back and so for every dress purchased, Maman Gâteau donates a new dress to a child in need, through the charity Dress a Girl Around the World.

Now I am looking forward to having Maman Gâteau available in local independent shops and catalogues. In the near future I intend to have a boutique showroom, where customers can buy, browse and feel the softness of our products for themselves. It is really important for me to keep everything handmade. My ethos is to be the best at what we do.

Maman Gateau star bodysuit

With the vibrant colours, patterns and styles of African prints taking the fashion world by storm of late, the launch of Maman Gâteau, and its line of limited-edition mum and baby essentials with an African twist, means that new and expectant mothers everywhere can consistently feel stylish and confident while out and about!

Maman Gâteau products are available from mamangateau.com with free UK delivery and will soon be available in several independent shops. They can also be found at a few London craft markets.

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