In celebration of our first customers 20 years ago – and the next generation of new moms to come - we are excited to announce the winner of our BravadoMama Model search – Mari Torres!

Meet Mari, our Newest BravadoMama Model

In celebration of our first customers 20 years ago – and the next generation of new moms to come - we are excited to announce the winner of our BravadoMama Model search – Mari Torres!

Bravado has always supported new mothers to ensure their breastfeeding success, however she chooses to define it, and that’s why it is important for us to share real breastfeeding journeys and celebrate real BravadoMamas. Focusing on real moms we searched for one of several new faces to represent BravadoMamas everywhere. Over 500 expecting and nursing moms applied from across North America, and with the help of our Judging Panel, bloggers Jill and Kristen from Glamamom and Bon Bon Rose Girls, we narrowed our choice to Mari. Mari’s positivity, unique breastfeeding journey and her willingness to discuss the common challenges many moms face when nursing and going back to work really stood out from other entries.

Mari, the oldest of three sisters, comes from a big family. “It has always been a lot of fun and I would like the same for my own kids. Plus in my opinion, you can never have enough loved ones.” Mari and her husband Christopher, welcomed Stella to the world 10 months ago and are expecting twins this fall, so there will be no shortage of love (and diapers) in the Torres household.

Mari’s Journey:

Mari, a second generation breast-feeder, was encouraged to breastfeed by her mom. “Her support helped me stay with it, as well as knowing how beneficial it is for both mom and baby. I have always known I would at least try to breastfeed. It is a very natural and bonding experience and knowing all the health benefits it has on the baby makes all the sacrifice, soreness and challenges so worth it.”

Mari breastfed Stella exclusively for the first five and a half months before introducing solids and cereal. Mari returned to work four months after giving birth, but plans on nursing Stella until she is 12 months old. To do this she created a milk-bank so Stella could continue to be on breastmilk exclusively even while she was at work and continues nursing up to eight times on the weekend and during the week nurses or pumps two to three times a day.

“At work I’m able to pump twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. Thankfully, I have a lot of flexibility at work for pumping. It has been a learning process for me to breastfeed successfully and for this long. Mother Nature is amazing and has made us women more than capable to handle it. Going back to work and pumping can be stressful and taxing, but if there's a will there certainly is a way and I think it is totally worth it.”

What has been your greatest moment? “When she was about two and a half months old she would look up at me while nursing and smile with her big eyes- without letting go of course. Just seeing how much she enjoyed it and how close she felt was the most amazing feeling.”

What is your best advice you’d want to share with other moms? “I would say "don't give up!" to any mom who is finding it challenging. It does get easier and your body adjusts very quickly.”

What are you looking forward to about breastfeeding twins?  “I'm just really curious to see how it all pans out. I know what happens when there is one baby, but I have no idea how it will be with two AND a toddler.”

What are you most apprehensive about? “I'm worried about not spending enough time with Stella. The twins will demand a lot from me and so will she; after all, she will only be 16 months old when they're born. I'm just striving to try to keep a balance of sorts. I had such a great experience the first time that I want to give the twins the same nourishment I gave to Stella. I'm just really hoping to produce enough milk for two!”

Behind the Scenes at the BravadoMama Model Search:

“When I told my husband I won, he said one big "WOW!". He was very proud and supportive. When I told him I would get to bring one person he said "you're taking ME!"

Mari arrived in Toronto on a Monday and after meeting the Bravado Team and having a bra fitting, Mari, Christopher and Stella were encouraged to explore Toronto. “We explored the city, visited the CN tower which was great and ate at a few great restaurants. The weather was perfect for walking and being outside.”

The following day the photo shoot took place at the home of a Bravado employee. Several BravadoMamas, babies and husbands were there, making it a busy set.  Mari said, “It was great to see how shoots are made and all the work that goes into getting the perfect picture, especially when babies are involved. From the photo shoot I really liked the leopard print bra and loved the tank tops. They were all comfortable and convenient and so easy to use.”

Music, tickling and bouncing balloons kept the photo shoot fun and energetic. Between breaks, Mari shared with the group how her and Christopher are teaching Stella Spanish and English at home. Mari explained, “Since Spanish is my first language, it was very important to me to teach it to my children. Aside from being a great advantage to be bilingual, I wanted to make sure Stella could communicate with her grandparents!” Spanish DVDs designed for babies help engage Stella and also teach Dad a word or two so they can practice together.

“Como el español es mi primer idioma, era bien importante para mí inculcarlo y enseñarselo a mis hijos. Además de ser una gran ventaja el ser bilingüe, me quería asegurar que Stella se pudiera comunicar con sus abuelos! Mi esposo esta aprendiendo español poco a poco con los videos de Stella y a veces practica una que otra palabra con ella.”

Mari added “I just want to thank the Bravado Designs Team for selecting me as their newest BravadoMama and for such a great experience! :-)”

Sharing Stories from other BravadoMama Models

In addition to Mari’s nursing story, in the coming weeks we will be sharing the journeys of our other BravadoMamas and employees, Julie and Holly. Stay tuned!

7:55am on Thursday July 12
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