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breastfeeding

MIT Research Group Asks: Why Does the Breast Pump Suck So Much?

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Hate pumping? You’re not alone. Most of those human milk machines are loud, clunky, uncomfortable, and prone to spillage. The double breast pump is especially creepy looking. (Kveller’s Director of Operations, Meredith Lewis, wrote about her love-hate relationship with the breast pump here.)

But pumping is important, not just for working moms who want to stay connected to their infants, but for premature and orphaned babies that rely on pumped milk for survival.

That’s why MIT Media Lab is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Organized by a group of students and researchers at MIT who are also parents, between 60 and 80 designers, engineers, lactation consultants, parents, and public health researchers have gathered together to brainstorm ways to make life easier for moms and their babies. Cash prizes range from $1,000 to $3,000, sponsored by breast pump manufacturers like Modela and Vecna Technologies.

Contestants broke into small groups and first tackled the issue of the loud motor. Before long, someone had gotten a quieter motor up and running with a plastic breast pump attached. They are still working on a new model, but let’s pray they successful in making breastfeeding more comfortable for mama and child, because the status quo is pretty, well, sucky.

What do you hate most about pumping? What can be improved about those reviled pumping machines?


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