A senior analyst at Future Market Insights (FMI) traces challenges and scope for improvements with the current products in the breast pump market.
Exclusive breast feeding for babies up to 6 months of age has been recommended by healthcare experts, globally. Moreover, babies with congenital defects or premature births also are unable to consume breast milk without difficulty. These difficulties faced by new mothers and the increasing operations of breast milk banks are encouraging the adoption of hospital grade breast pumps around the world.
What shortcomings of conventional breast pumps must manufacturers focus on?
Unlike other equipment that people use on a regular basis, such as automobiles or smartphones, the breast pump has not seen any significant improvements in the recent past. Most breast pumps come with the challenges of having multiple complex components that need to be assembled or taken apart for functioning the right way, while being very noisy. Moreover, conventional breast pumps are usually made with a one size fits all configuration. This approach by manufacturers so far has been detrimental to the growth of the breast pump market, as mothers are often seen choosing the weaning of their baby as opposed to using breast pumps owing to lack of convenience.
What are some notable innovations made by breast pump manufacturers to address such challenges?
Willow Inc. is one of the few breast pump manufacturers that has released breast pump products that makes its operation easy and completely silent. The device is almost completely automated and can work on a single charge for an entire day, without any effort from the user, while analyzing the timing and milk production rate of the woman to optimize its own operation for better results. In addition, the product is also integrated with its own smartphone app, for essential data about the new mother’s health.
On a similar note, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a number of innovations to change how breast pumps are designed. For instance one prototype makes use of air bladders instead of vacuum systems that enhance noise reduction.
Also, Medela a leader in the breast pump technology has started to experiment with different sucking patterns that imitate the nursing behavior of real babies to optimize performance during different stages of lactation for women.
Are there any significant threats to the current breast pump adoption scenario?
Rapidly improving quality of alternative methods of lactation are anticipated to restrict the production and sales of breast pumps. For instance, galactogogues, which are medications for inducing milk production in new mothers, are increasingly moving away from synthetic ingredients to natural counterparts, which are just as effective in their function. Such efforts are witnessing high preference by mothers, and are expected to pose significant challenges to breast pump manufacturers.
Need more revelations and stats? Then checkout a sample of the FMI report.