CES 2018: Willow and Freemie breast pumps offer mums freedom

From BBC - January 10, 2018

Two firms have launched portable pumps to help breastfeeding mums collect their milk on the move.

Women who use breast pumps often apply them several times a day and for periods of about 20 minutes or more.

However, generally they have to be plugged into a power socket and the pump mechanism is noisy.

Both Willow and the Freemie Liberty pump are designed to be worn more unobtrusively - placed inside a woman's bra.

Unlike traditional pumps, they are powered by rechargeable batteries and are very quiet.

They are both on show at the CES tech trade fair in Las Vegas.

Stressed mums

"Mums have a lot of stress, they have to plug into a wall, often they are isolated in a tiny room and they have to step out of life," said Willow chief executive Naomi Kelman.

"One teacher told us she had to stop and go in a supply closet to pump."

Willow won an award for its device at CES in 2017, since when the pump has been available to buy as a beta trial, but it is now launching onto the market, retailing in the US for $479 (354).

It has faced some criticism online from those who have tried it out, including comments that the bags, which hold 4oz (118ml) of milk, are too small.

A spokeswoman said that in future "bag options" of different sizes would be available, and added that the pump can be paused while the smaller bag is changed over.

The Freemie Liberty pump comes with 8oz bags.


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