This woman’s work

Oshrit Gur, the force beyond Israel’s breastfeeding portal, has labored to offer mothers clothing and accessories for all stages of pregnancy and beyond.

Nika is located at 7 Ha’etzel Street in Kiryat Ono (photo credit: Courtesy)
Nika is located at 7 Ha’etzel Street in Kiryat Ono
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the movies, at least the happy ones, a woman becomes a mother in an intense moment of hospital gowns, shouting and encouragement. She then returns home to fulfill her responsibilities, nursing, cooing, pacing, changing and bathing her little one.
In reality, as many mothers and specifically Oshrit Gur will tell you, it doesn’t go that smoothly. Regardless of the number of friends or family members that a new mother has, nothing can prepare her for the dramatic shift from being “one” to being “plus one.”
Gur’s experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood became the base of her current professional life.
Having crossed the bridge into parenthood, Gur sees it as her mission to support women through the transition, and is the owner of Nika, a store that offers clothing and accessories for women before, during and after birth. The 37-year-old is also the force behind www., the first, largest and most extensive portal for breastfeeding mothers in Israel.
“My work is divided into two parts, the store, which is commercial, and the website, which is not-for-profit,” explains Gur. For her store, Gur imports handpicked bits and bobs from abroad, including the entire Carriwell line of undergarments for pregnant and post-birth women from Denmark, 9Fashion maternity clothing from Poland and children’s clothing from around Europe. She also sells what she considers the best of Israeli products such as Sharon Dror’s nursing pillow and Tza’ad Tza’ad’s first-step shoes.
All of these items are available at the physical store in Kiryat Ono, as well as on the retail site. “It’s important for me that the items I import are priced reasonably,” says Gur. “I want to give a home to all of the best items available on the market, so as to provide real solutions for women.”
The second part of her work is what she considers her “soul project.” As a new mother, Gur, a naturally thorough and inquisitive woman, scoured the Internet for information that would aid her in tackling nursing, a challenging and emotional duty. What she found was a big black hole, where Hebrew resources were concerned.
“My son is nine-and-a-half years old and my daughter is five. When I gave birth to Itamar, I had no clue about breastfeeding and I quickly discovered that there was very little literature available. Women give birth and are expected to know how to nurse. So often, it doesn’t come that naturally.”
Gur, tall, striking woman with jet-black hair and a slim frame, speaks openly and animatedly about both the thrills and hurdles of mothering.
“In 2010, after I gave birth to Illy, my daughter, I decided to open an Israeli portal for mothers. Sites like mine exist all over the world, but at the time, there wasn’t anything close in Hebrew. My first step was to look for information from an official source, the Health Ministry.” She sighs. “Nothing.”
Incapable of taking “nothing” for an answer, Gur turned to the ministry’s American counterpart. There, she found a list of recommendations for nursing mothers. “I asked them if I could translate it and they said yes. I took a year to collect and translate articles, guidelines, recommendations and expert advice from all over the world.” Today, every woman who registers on Menika receives this list. Since the inception of the site, tens of thousands of women have leafed through its pages.
Many new mothers turn to their healthcare provider for information about nursing. While doctors can give support, the real problems usually arise in the middle of the night or on the weekend, when clinics are closed. For this reason, lactation specialists work around the clock, house-hopping between new moms.
To the nursing sheet, Gur added profiles of sleep consultants, lactation specialists and development experts. “I really encourage women to seek help after birth. Every expert on my site has their own page with their contact information and background. When a woman is in distress and needs someone quickly, she can check out the specialists on the site and pick the one that suits her best. There are also doulas and photographers on the site.”
The website is clean of ads and free for all users, both practitioners and mothers. It boasts articles written by, among others, nurses, seasoned mothers and nutritionists.
Gur makes sure to post an essay every few weeks about her interactions with new mothers and her customers.
“The talkbacks are a great element of the site, and the place where real discussion takes place,” she notes.
“When I read them, I see a community forming of mothers around Israel. Women can also send questions in to the site that either I answer or defer to a professional.”
Gur continues to be surprised and amazed by the feedback she receives. “My dream,” she smiles, “is that every woman in Israel would register with Menika at some point in her pregnancy. I want to help make the information that is out there more readily available to women in their hour of need.”
Nika is located at 7 Ha’etzel Street in Kiryat Ono. For more information about Menika or Nika, visit