The Local Look: Leche Libre

Andrea Newberry wanted to be able to nurse easily and discretely while out in public—and she wanted to do so stylishly. So in December 2014, she founded Leche Libre, a Chicago clothing company that creates “fashion forward apparel” for the breastfeeding mom. As Newberry wrote in an e-mail interview, “Watch out. The moms are hitting the streets, and we’re going to look awesome.”


Andrea Newberry created Leche Libre so that mothers like herself could nurse discretely—and stylishly.

Why did you choose Chicago?  Tell us about what it means to be a business in Chicago.  

Chicago gives a small business owner the best of both worlds. It’s a huge dynamic city exploding with art, style and rich in diverse cultural opportunities, while at the same time being very affordable in comparison to other cities. We have a much greater quality of life here then in other cities smaller then us.

My life philosophy which I incorporate into the Leche Libre brand is all about integrating the various ways we want to live our lives together in order get the absolute most out of life that we can. I’ve always wanted to start my own business, so since I’ve chosen to live here, this is the place to do it. I want to own an amazing business, be an urban mom with worldly children and have an awesome social life. I can do that all here in Chicago.

If you could go back in time before you became involved in running the business and share one piece of advice with yourself, what would you tell yourself?

I would say don’t overthink and worry about everything. It takes time to for things to grow and there is experimentation that is necessary to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I think I spent too much time trying to get everything exactly right the first time around and wasted a lot of energy worrying about stuff, that worked itself out in the end. Worrying and fretting about it was just a waste of time.

What are your next steps?  

I’m currently working on producing more designs for my line. In addition to dresses and tunics, I’m working on a few pieces of more casual streetwear inspired looks. I’m working on a hoodie right now that I’m pretty excited about. I like the idea of making streetwear for breastfeeding in public because the name communicates that this stuff is meant to be worn out in public, in the street, and not just cloistered away at home or in some back room. 

We want to be in the know!  Name one person, place or thing that you think is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets—a secret until now, of course.  

The best kept secret for family fun on a Saturday night in Chicago is El Circo Cheapo, which happens the first Saturday of the month at Aloft Loft. It’s an amazing circus themed variety show of aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, clowns, comedians and more! They have two shows and the early 7pm show is super family friendly.  

The best kept secret for ice cream treats is Cocobongo Nevaria on W. North Ave. and Keeler Ave. in Hermosa.  With over 50 homemade popsicles to choose from ranging from standard fruit flavors to popsicles with twinkies in them, it’s a must-stop for all dessert lovers.  They also make a selection of rotating sorbets and gelatos in authentic Mexican flavors with specialties like mango and strawberry sorbet with hot chili sauce and lime. 

Q&As are edited for clarity and length.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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