Breast pumps can often be complicated contraptions, frustrating the moms who use them. One such frustrated mom was Masha Waldberg, who decided to take matters into her own hands and create a simple and effective pump to help her breastfeed.
The problem with many breast pumps, according to Waldberg, is that they only pump 60 percent of breast milk, leaving the breasts almost half-full. This in turn prevents the acceleration of milk production, leaving babies hungry for more.
Waldberg, 24, encountered this problem when she tried pumping milk for her daughter, Annabella. She found existing pumps to be too big, loud and clumsy to use, and discovered that she couldn’t pump the required amount of milk.
“I looked for a pumping machine that would pump 100% of my milk, but I couldn’t find one,” says Waldberg. “After hours of research, I came up with a way to make the existing pumping machine better.”
She partnered with an engineer, and together they designed a pump that simulates the suckling motion of a baby’s tongue. This stimulates the natural milk-ejection reflex, greatly increasing the amount of milk drawn and reducing pumping time by half, she says.
The pump they created, called “Annabella” after her daughter, promises to be user-friendly, quiet and washable. It can be charged ahead of time and used to pump a number of times before the next recharge.
“Annabella is a pumping machine that draws close to 100% of the mother’s milk, because it actually simulates a baby’s sucking motion.” Waldberg says.
She explains that the “spherical part under the main opening contains a mechanism which imitates a baby’s tongue, and the upper part enables power and grip adjustment. Just like a real muscle system.”
“It solved the problems I was experiencing as a first-time breastfeeding mother,” she says.
Almost $150,000 was crowdfunded to develop a number of Annabella breast pumps, and its creators are now working out of their Tel Aviv headquarters to transition production to a commercial scale.
Also in development is an Annabella app to monitor and recommend the optimal pace and intensity of the pumping process, which Waldman says could further help breastfeeding moms.
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