With groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommending that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months or longer, it’s no wonder the rates of breastfed babies have risen dramatically in the last 16 years. In 2002 in the U.S., 37.9% of babies were breastfed for at least six months and 71.9% were breastfed for some time. According to the CDC, the latest available statistics, representing babies born in 2015, indicate that 57.6% are breastfed for six months and 83.2% at least for some time. Not all mothers are able to breastfeed their babies all the time, and so have to pump milk for storage to be used later. This is especially true for working mothers; the CDC reports that nearly half all of employers now have workplace lactation support programs.
Pumping breast milk can be inconvenient, as most systems require a bulky system with lots of parts. The situation is improving, however, as companies are developing pumping systems that a woman can wear under her clothing. Last year we wrote about the Willow Wearable Breast Pump, an FDA-cleared device that fits inside a woman’s bra while it collects milk in one-time-use bags. Chiaro Technology is a company that we wrote about in 2015 when it introduced the Elvie Trainer, which is a mobile kegel exercise feedback device. The same company recently announced the Elvie Pump. Described as “the world’s first silent wearable breast pump,” the Evie Pump is currently available on a waitlist status only. Designed to be worn inside a standard nursing bra, the Elvie Pump has five parts for easy assembly and cleaning. An associated iOS or Android app monitors milk volume in real-time, tracks pumping history for each breast and can control the pump remotely, although the app isn’t required to use the pump.
While the percentage of infants ever breastfed has increased ahead of the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2020 Objectives, only about 25% of babies are breastfed exclusively for their first six months. Considering the busy lives of average American mothers, systems to make pumping more comfortable and convenient could help to increase these percentages.