As Founder of Nüni Wellness, Dayle Larter is nothing short of inspiring. She has created a range of skincare products that are not only nourishing, but also proving to be an educational tool for getting to know your boobs. We spoke to Dayle about her own her own risk reduction mastectomy journey and her passion for improving women’s breast health through self-awareness and self-care.
Shortly after having your second baby you decided to undergo a double mastectomy, having earlier tested positive for the abnormal BRCA2 gene. Can you share with us how you came to that decision?
At the same time as we were growing our little family, I was undergoing 6-monthly preventative screening tests, usually in the form of MRI’s. As time went on, and with doctors constantly encouraging me to start putting a plan in place, I started to feel like I had ticking time bombs on my chest.
I was coming to the end of breastfeeding my son, Roo, and just got to a point where I was looking down at my post-breast feeding boobs (more like empty wind-socks by that stage) wondering whether they were really worth the risk. It can seem quite drastic to go to those lengths when you’re 32, and not sick, but with such a high predisposition, I liken it to asking a friend whether they would like to go out surfing with me in shark infested waters....I tell them that there’s an 80% chance they’ll be attacked while we’re out there, and the severity of the attack is an unknown too - it could be a brief stint in hospital, or possibly fatal. I respect that everyone’s journey is different, but I just wasn’t prepared to take a chance with those odds.
Ultimately, my priority is to be around for my babies, and do all of the things I want to squeeze into this life! And if that means getting around with foobs, so be it! I feel so grateful to have been able to make the decision on my own terms, which is a luxury that many women don’t ever get the chance to make.
What was the inspiration for creating Nüni?
I feel super blessed to have been given advance warning about my own breast health; and it’s made me really driven to make a difference to the relationship other women have with their breasts. I want to make breast wellness a thing, so I developed these products to serve as a tool for communicating a much needed & positive message around breast wellness. A message in a bottle, if you will.
When you google breast health or breast wellness, the pages populate almost entirely with heavy-hitting articles of breast cancer, heartbreak and scary stories. So Nüni is shaking this up by bringing the positive vibes around women’s wellness, awareness and better breast health. I want to empower women to take their breast wellness into their own hands.
I also developed a Scar Serum (for completely selfish reasons to begin with!) After failing to find an effective scar treatment for my own under-boob scars that didn’t contain nasties like petroleum & synthetic fragrances, our 100% natural Scar Serum was born.
What are some of the misconceptions younger women are under when it comes to regular breast checking?
This is such a good question!!! And one that I often find myself pondering at 3am, usually after being woken to a kick to one of my foobs 😊
There are many misconceptions, the most common probably being that breast cancer is viewed as a disease to worry about later in life; that it’s not relevant until we’re old enough to start having mammograms (screening age is 50 – 74 years). But breast cancer isn’t just an issue for grandma’s, it actually estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women aged 20-39 years.
Another misconception is that only women with a gene fault need to be proactive with their breast health, which is also not the case. Only around 10% of cancer diagnosis are hereditary, so actually the vast majority of women could benefit from getting to know their boobs a little better.
Ah, so many! Another common one is “I don’t really know how to check myself so there’s no point!” I totally get it, if you feel like you’re fumbling around in the dark, you’re not very inspired to keep doing it. Even after being shown by some big-gun doctors how to properly conduct a self-check, it still felt so clinical and sterile, I felt like I needed to pull on a pair of medical gloves for the occasion. But with up to 80% of cancers in young women (under 40) being self-detected, our health really does lie in our hands. Nuni is working to overcome this reluctance by sending out a simple guide to self-breast massage with every order of Boob Oil; and creating other fun resources for women - to elevate the art of getting handsy with our boobs.
A final misconception that I think is definitely worth shining a light on is that all breast lumps are bad. This just isn’t true, in fact, only about 1 in every 10 lumps are problematic. So please don’t avoid getting to know you boobs for fear you might find something!
How can women achieve greater peace of mind by using your Boob Oil?
Nuni’s breast care products can benefit women on so many levels. Whether it be by helping women create a ritual around checking in with their girls, enticing them to conduct more regular self-checks, or serving as a beautiful tool for helping women reconnect with themselves.
Breast massage is SO good for keeping boobies happy because it helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage, and boost circulation which means that you’re flushing out junk and encouraging fresh blood supply. It can help to reduce hormonal tenderness, and women are using it as a tool in their breastfeeding arsenal, with reports that it’s really helping mastitis prone mamas out there. And it’s not necessarily limited to women with their own boobs either! I feel as though regular massage with Boob Oil has allowed me to accept my post surgery boobs as my own, rather than the imposters they originally felt like!
I believe that women can achieve greater peace of mind because they get to know the landscape of their own bodies better, and can be confident that they’re looking after their boobs on the reg. As a result, they’re increasing their self-awareness - that’s an empowering feeling!
To you, self-care means...
Gosh, it’s become such a buzz-word hasn’t it? I think self-care can mean very different things from one person to the next. One word that springs to mind is ‘crucial’. But I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t mean I’m failing at it if my morning routine doesn’t consist of me bounding out of bed at 5am for a green smoothie and 30 minutes of journaling. For me, it’s ever-changing, and a practise I’m definitely not nailing all of the time.
Filling my cup could be a dip in the ocean, or an Epsom bath and an early night; or possibly even cooking up a storm with the music blaring while I’ve got the house to myself. I recently learnt Vedic Meditation and so that’s been a delicious new addition to my self-care ‘routine’. But if I’m being perfectly honest, it could also be in the form of a girls trip to the big smoke to go dancing, or a 3 hour Netflix binge on the couch.
Having said that, I am conscious of what I put into my body, how much I move it, and my inner dialogue, and take care of myself because it makes me feel good, and probably makes me a better human to be around. I also can’t un-know the advice I’ve been given by countless doctors (from both an Eastern & Western perspective) that diet & lifestyle is key, and that decreasing stress is THE single most important thing we can do to avoid disease & live long happy lives.
As a mama, I think it’s super important for us to be modelling self-care to our kids, so that hopefully the next gen won’t be wearing stress, overwhelm and sleep deprivation as a badge of honour. For me that might be when I let them know that mummy needs 20 minutes of quiet time to meditate, or when they see me giving myself a bit of a massage. I hope it paints a positive picture to them from an early age and reinforces the importance of tending to oneself in a loving way.
How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?
My kids are yet to master the art of breakfast in bed so I’d hazard a guess that I’ll be downstairs cooking pancakes by 6.30am. Actually; maybe I’ll get in early and suggest grabbing brekkie and taking it down to the beach, which has to be one of my favourite things to do.
We live in Byron, so we might go on a little day trip into the hinterland, and maybe head to DOMA (an amazing Japanese sushi institution) for lunch. I’m sure it will look much like any other day, maybe with a cute little hand-drawn card and some extra snuggles up for grabs!