If you happen to be over in Massachusetts on September 20th, why not head over to the Breast Pump Hackathon that will be happening in MIT.
Researchers and Academics at MIT want to tackle the issue of breast pumping, as they feel the process could be made much easier. They say that “maternal and neonatal health is a space that lags behind others in innovation, and they want to change that” They go on to say that “breast-pumping flat out sucks!”
They give a number of reasons for this on their website, including:
“The motor is loud. There are too many parts. They are hard to clean. You can?t lay down and pump. There is no good space to pump. It’s hard to keep track of what you pump. Your colleagues think pumping is weird. People are skeeved out by breastmilk. People are embarrassed by breasts”
For many women breast-pumping is a chore, and a painful one at that. But it is seen as a necessity. So the MIT Media Lab decided to bring together 60 to 80 engineers, designers, parents and public health researchers to try to come up with new ideas around breast-pumping to “make it not suck”
They say that they are setting this challenge because improving breast-pump technology can save lives and money. They say that:
“Breast pumping is an experience many women hate, yet it saves the lives of premature babies and permits working women to continue a nursing relationship with their baby. The health benefits of breastfeeding, both to mother and baby, are numerous and include the reductions of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, female cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Despite the overwhelming data and worldwide endorsement of breastfeeding for at least two years, many women do not breastfeed or wean after several months. In particular, low-income, working women are rarely able to take extended maternity leave, to afford the cost of a pump, or to pump breastmilk at their workplace.
In emerging economies around the world, women who go back to work wean their babies rather than using a breast pump. The breast pump is the rallying cry for the event because it is a symbol of a technology that could be vastly improved in order to save lives, save money and lead to healthier and happier families.
At the same time, our goal is to make space for innovation in family life more broadly and support a wide variety of different kinds of projects at the event”
They are inviting people to contact them with any ideas in relation to improving the process of breast-pumping.
Their contact details are available on their website.
Do you find breast-pumping a chore and would you like to see an easier process?