Many women have difficulty expressing breast milk while pumping. A new nursing bra that offers breast massage claims to help women pump more milk even faster.
New moms will tell you that pumping breast milk quickly becomes a tedious task. In fact, despite a mother’s best intention, breastfeeding often ends when mom returns to work.
In addition to locating a clean, quiet, and private place to pump, women have to find the time to do so. On average, it takes 15-20 minutes to pump, and this does not include the time required to set up the pump and clean it after pumping.
A woman’s milk supply often decreases when she returns to work. One reason for this is because breast milk production relies on supply and demand. While breast pumps have come a long way, they do not compare to an infant’s ability to extract milk.
As a result of the breast pump’s inability to express all the milk, mom’s body responds by producing less milk. Often, a new mom will become stressed at her lack of supply, which only adds to the problem. Quickly, supply diminishes, and moms have no choice but to supplement.
One company is aiming to address this issue by creating a nursing bra that does more than just offer suction. Lilu, founded by MIT graduate Adriana Vazquez Ortiz, has created a nursing bra that utilizes a built-in compression system aimed to simulate breast massage and increase milk production and flow.
Lactation consultants and midwives have known about the benefits of breast massage for milk production for years. A 2009 study confirmed that combining hand techniques with electric pumping increases milk production by nearly 50%. Hand massage and expression can not only help with milk production, but it also allows moms to get to the richer hindmilk more quickly.
Using compressed air, the new nursing bra applies similar patterns of breast massage that are recommended by lactation consultants. This battery-powered, hands-free compression device works in conjunction with any standard breast pump. Lilu claims to help moms produce more milk in less time.
The company is still in its initial stages and is sure to face some obstacles, first of which may be the price tag.
The compression bra costs $249, and that does not include a breast pump. However, when one considers that the average cost of a can of formula is $17, the price of the bra does not seem so outrageous. And, if it helps mom continue breastfeeding, the payoff is really priceless.
Photo Credit: Lilu