Laura Lucas traded criminals to help new mums when she hung up her police uniform to create a revolutionary breast pump.

The breast pump mimics exactly the way a baby sucks when nursing.

Ms Lucas, a former Hamilton police officer, and fiancé Todd Cairns, previously in the armed offenders squad, resigned last month to focus on family and their one-year-old business Milkbar.

Ms Lucas' second son was born early and was too tired to feed. Using a breast pump to express milk for him became necessary but she found it "incredibly hard" to do.


At the time she thought, "It's 2017. There has to be something better out there for me and other mums. Surely I'm not the only one out there experiencing this problem?"

The difficulties with expressing milk was emotional for Ms Lucas who had been a police officer for almost a decade.

"I got so passionate about wanting to solve this problem ... I had this real strong urge to tackle it and give it my all."

Ms Lucas wanted a pump that mimicked what a nursing baby does. Traditional pumps act like a vacuum but a baby compresses the nipple to draw milk from the duct.

"We were like 'There has to be some way that we can get a pump to actually do that motion'."

The couple found a company to manufacture the pump they wanted and started Milkbar to sell it and other products to help mums with feeding.

Ms Lucas said leaving their police careers to start the business has had a positive effect on the family's work-life balance.

"[It's] definitely been quite a cool change for our family because with the police we both were in specialist squads so we were on-call all the time. We could get called out any time of the day and night."


Ms Lucas said although running a business while raising two children could be chaotic sometimes, it was "good chaos" and allowed them to have more time together as a family.
Her biggest highlight had been connecting with customers and helping those who were having the same difficulties she had.

Quite a few times it has popped up on Facebook, with comments such as ... 'Eight months later and I'm still able to express milk and able to breastfeed my baby and I can't thank you enough'.

"And that's tear-jerking and it's really emotional for me because I know what they're talking about. I've been there."

This kind of feedback led to Ms Lucas developing a support group on Facebook called Milkbar Mum Chat for mothers to ask for advice and as a platform for live interviews with professionals and experts around baby related topics.

"We support mums in whatever their journey is."

This week Ms Lucas discovered the advanced flow breast pump is a finalist in the annual OHbaby! awards. The awards sponsored by the OHbaby! magazine, recognise the best products and services in the pregnancy and parenting markets as voted for by mums and dads.

Voting is open now. Winners will be announced on October 15.