The benefits of breastfeeding for both new born children and mothers are well known. While perhaps the greatest benefit comes from the formation of a close, intimate bond between Mother and child, there are very clear health, nutritional and economic arguments for breastfeeding for a minimum of six months.
Breast milk has been designed to perfectly fit to a babies development needs changing as they grow and carrying nutritional and anti-infection benefits superior to formulae milk alternatives.
While the majority of mothers breastfeed at birth a recent WHO sponsored research by UNICEF and published in the Lancet highlighted a trend, particularly in higher income countries where access to breast milk drops significantly over the first six months of a childs life. The 2016 study illustrated that only 34% of new born children in the UK were still feeding on breast milk at six months rising to a best figure of 50% in Germany.
This same study suggests that if breast milk access could be raised to near universal levels over 800,000 children and 20,000 womens lives would be saved each year. The economic benefits are also clear. If the use of breast milk to six months were to double in the UK alone there would be an estimated 865 fewer cancer cases and a saving to the NHS of £21million. It has been estimated that failing to breastfeed costs the global economy around US$302 billion every year1.
1Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect Victora, Cesar G et al. The Lancet , Volume 387 , Issue 10017 , 475 - 490
The problems raising breast milk access are centred around the changing lifestyles in developed countries and in the poor performance and perceptions around breastfeeding and the use of breast pumps. Many women continue to feel stigmatised breastfeeding or expressing milk away from the home and the return to work often makes breast feeding itself impractical. Existing breast pumps are seen as uncomfortable, industrial and often impractical in nature, requiring a high degree of organisation in an already busy lifestyle which can increase feelings of stigmatisation and alienation further.
PDR worked with Chinese medical device manufacturer, Medu-Scientific to bring Nurture to life. Nurture is a revolutionary approach to breast pumps that calls upon new approaches and technologies to create a more inclusive, user driven and flexible way of continuing to provide breast milk to developing babies in the 21st century. It addresses the concerns of mothers by creating a more natural, less stigmatising operation and allows others to engage in the feeding responsibilities and benefits.
The system continues the connection between parents and child and the continued use of breast milk. It addresses directly the problems in comfort and industrialisation of existing pumps while reducing the concerns of increasing busy working parents through the provision of enhanced information supporting management and providing greater reassurance in a mobile, digitally-connected world.
The rechargeable, highly portable device takes a new aesthetic and ergonomic approach to reduce the industrial feel of existing products and increase adoption and use. Its small footprint and form factor allows a more natural and intuitive handling and coupling to the mother without compromising on capacity or functionality. The system frees the mother from being the sole feeder allowing her partner to share in the unique bonding experience of feeding and exclusivity of night feeds.
The bottles are designed to hold the maximum amount needed in a single feed and are more conducive to the cradling and closeness between parent and child that builds bonds and relationships. Sensors within both the pump and bottles allow real time feedback of volume produced and in the subsequent volume of milk taken at a feed and date stamps each bottle to allow easy management. Temperature sensors within the bottles also clearly display when the optimum temperature has been reached for comfortable feeding.
The system also connects simply to an associated app that allows feed tracking, in particular times and volumes to be recorded supporting management and bringing reassurance to mothers, sharing the feeding responsibility for the first time.