We're thrilled to have Zara Wong chat to us all things motherhood at M. Magazine. Accomplished and renowned in the beauty and fashion industry, she was the Former Head of Content and Editorial Strategy at Mecca as well as the Fashion Feature and Content Director at VOGUE, however in July of last year, Zara stepped into a brand new role as 'mother' to her beautiful boy, Freddie.
Zara chats to us about being a mum, her current fashion staples which include Birkenstocks or ballet flats, some insight on her breastfeeding journey, and her top postpartum products she couldn't live without.
Over to you, Zara....
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
I'm Zara, based in Sydney. I like to cook, read, and consume lots of content in so many different mediums -- short form, long form, podcasts, magazines, social media, and everything else in between. I'm a first-time mother to Frederick (Freddie).
The former Head of Content and Editorial Strategy at Mecca as well as former Fashion Feature and Content Director at VOGUE, what is life like for you right now.
I'm on parental leave at the moment and will be commencing a role at Aje Collective shortly.
You write a newsletter for Screenshot This.
Can you give us a little insight.
I started this when I was living in Melbourne experiencing the worst of the worst of lockdowns back in 2021. Yes, the lockdowns were notoriously strict, and while I did see the silver lining in having the privilege of being at home more and really keeping to myself, the weeks were blurring into each other. I started my newsletter because I'm the friend who gets asked where to go for dinner, what book to read next, and what I'm watching on television -- if I see a dress in a shop window, I'll take a photo and send it through to you if I think it'll suit you. The newsletter is basically that -- what I'd send to my friends. And, it helped to count the weeks as they went by because I send it out weekly. I'm really bowled over by how well it's been received.
Congratulations on your beautiful boy Freddie making his debut in July of last year. What has motherhood been like for you so far.
It has been getting better and better. He's now almost 10 months at the time of writing this and he's so much fun. His napping skills weren't great at all until about 7.5 months -- that was a real turning point for me. I'm really fortunate that he's mostly slept through the night quite early on and really feel for mothers who haven't had that -- I love my sleep.
Maternity wear is generally hidden in the corners of department stores.Our goal at MUMMA MILLA is to shift the idea that maternity wear can be chic, modern, empowering, and doesn’t even necessarily need to be ‘maternity’! What was your approach for dressing during your pregnancy.
I didn't want to change my style too much so what I wore when pregnant is not much different to what I would wear when not pregnant. I do love leggings-as-pants and a chunky knit -- I was based in Melbourne at the time where you really have the opportunity to dress up for winter, which was perfect when pregnant. I didn't buy any maternity wear when pregnant at all and just sized up, wore really stretchy items or... just wore pants unzipped!
‘Enclothed cognition’ and wearing something beautiful can instantly shift our mood. Why do you think this simple practice is important, especially during our postpartum phase when our body has been through many fluctuations and changes.
We're visual and tactile creatures so wearing something that feels just so and looks just so provides such an immediate effect. I think post-partum not only is your body different but your routine, your day, your identity; any bit of consistency, which for me came through my clothes, was really important. In my third and fourth trimesters, I basically adopted a uniform of clothes that I loved and felt comfortable and didn't feel too slovenly in; I wanted to feel put together because that made me feel more like myself.
What has breastfeeding been like for you. Any tips for mums-to-be about to embark on this journey.
They tell you it's hard but you really don't know how hard it is until you begin it. He gummed in the beginning, and as lactation consultants, midwives and doctors told me "This is the first time he's breastfeeding too... and he's not good at it." It was almost a relief to hear that because you're trying so hard and doing everything you can, and sometimes, well, your baby just isn't great at it! I pumped in the beginning and then overtime he did improve his nursing skills. I do find it challenging the pressure women have breastfeed from the get-go -- I don't know anyone who has had smooth smiling with nursing.
We’d be honoured to hear what you think of our leakproof nursing bralettes.
I had bought some other maternity camisoles - some had inbuilt cups which I didn't like and weren't very comfortable, especially to sleep in (as of course, in the beginning you're easily leaking overnight!). Then I bought some thinner ones that didn't feel that... supportive. I've been really impressed with the Mumma Milla ones which are supportive without being bulky.
Your go-to mum-life outfit.
Jeans, Birkenstocks/Vibi Venezia velvet ballet flats/Onitsuka Tiger or Nike sneakers, a T-shirt/cardigan and trenchcoat at the moment. I just want it all to be easy!
Three things you packed (and needed) in your hospital bag.
Silverettes, slip-on shoes, cosy cardigans.
Your top 3 postpartum products you couldn’t live without.
Honestly the Mumma Milla nursing bras I've been really impressed with. During summer it was shirts, and now it's cooler it's cardigans (you want something that you can button up). And Qiara probiotics to stave off mastitis!!! They are expensive, but my OB recommended them and they have helped so much when I'm nearing mastitis. I've recommended them to all my friends.
The things your baby does right now that give you so much joy.
So far, touch wood, he seems to be a really happy baby who laughs a lot and is pretty laidback; he loves to go out, loves rolling around and is really curious.
Your ideal afternoon.
At the moment it's reading while the baby is playing.
Your advice for any new mums out there.
Baby's change all the time so if it's a rough patch, it'll invariably change soon enough!