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The Breastfeeding Boutique

New-mom supplies from a low-key lactation consultant

by Sally Mitani

From the June, 2014 issue

The retail change at 726 Brooks is rather slight--that there is any retail at all on this quiet Water Hill street is probably the biggest news to most, but the worn, block building set far back from the street is clearly not residential. Long ago it was the West Side Dairy. Since 2008 it's been Barbara Robertson's Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor, as well as the Human Milk Depot of Ann Arbor (no connection to the West Side Dairy). Robertson, a certified lactation consultant, has always sold nursing bras and supplies. Now she has formally named a part of her space the Breastfeeding Boutique, and she's narrowed its focus: "I've discovered that I can't sell everything to everyone, so I'm concentrating on new moms, expectant moms, moms returning to work, and I'm particularly specializing in large cup sizes. I've gotten rid of fitted, sized bras--there are other, bigger shops that carry those."

She is about as low-key a salesperson as she could be and still claim to be a retailer. "I have people who come in in tank tops and say 'I've never worn a bra, but I guess now that I'm nursing, I should start.'" Nonsense, she tells them--though she may sell them a nursing tank. In the same self-effacing vein, "we sell a nursing pillow, but I encourage people to just use pillows they have on hand. If someone is having trouble holding the baby comfortably, I'll say 'take it home, and if it changes your life, you can come back and buy it.'" She also sells increasingly hard-to-find spare parts for breast pumps.

Robertson shares the building with the related Center for the Childbearing Year and Dave Orlin's unrelated bow-making and violin-repair business.

Breastfeeding Boutique, 726 Brooks, 975-6532. Mon.-Wed., Fri., & Sat. noon-4 p.m. Closed Thurs. & Sun. (or by appointment).    (end of article)

[Originally published in June, 2014.]


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