Hackers Plan To Fix Everything That Sucks About Breast Pumps, Thank God

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I have a love-hate relationship with my breast pump. It does a lot of good things for me, but it still kind of sucks. So it is completely awesome that the breast pump is the star of MIT Media Lab’s fall hackathon, where the event’s design goal is to “make the breast pump not suck.”

I’ve tried a couple breast pump models, and I love them, but I also hate them. The electric one is big, loud, a bit painful, and it makes a person feel like a dairy cow or the star of some kind of robot porn. The manual one is slow, drippy, doesn’t fully get the job done, and is too easy to knock over the very moment one has finished filling it. Both of them have tiny little parts that need to be kept pristinely clean, and neither will let a person pump while lying down. (I tried. I might need a new couch.)

The MIT hackathon September 20-21 in Cambridge, Mass., will bring together 60 to 80 engineers, designers, public health researcher, lacatation consultants, and parents to put their heads together and come up with ways to improve or redesign the breast pump.

According to the MIT Media Lab, the goal of the event is “to educate ourselves and our colleagues about the mechanics of breast pumping, discuss design challenges posed by current technologies and societal norms, and generate ideas for how we could change our machines and our society to make breastfeeding and breast pumping a normal, painless, and not-degrading experience for moms. … Our larger goal is to help fuel a culture of innovation in the space of maternal and neonatal health, a space that typically lags behind other fields in technological innovation.”

Better breast pumps could make life easier for working mothers and help save lives and improve infant health around the world, so this is totally awesome. I will be crossing my fingers that the creative geniuses at the hackathon come up with some innovative solutions that can be implemented, like, now. (I have a small infant and am very selfish.)

They’re also taking suggestions on the hackathon Facebook page. How would you improve the breast pump?

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