Can't Breast-Feed? Just Strap 'Em On, Moms - or Dads
We have some good news for him.
Christa Anderson of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada, created a device that lets moms who can't breast-feed or those who have weaned their babes, simulate the experience using a bottle. Called Nurse Me Tender, the product straps on to your chest and holds a bottle in a harness.
Anderson came up with Nurse Me Tender after she weaned her own son, then 10 months old, and was dissatisfied with the bottle-feeding experience.
"I was very pro-breast-feeding," Anderson tells ParentDish. "But then it came time for me personally to switch to the bottle, and I found that I missed that whole act of breast-feeding, and also the convenience of it."
Being able to multi-task while feeding her son also motivated this mompreneur. Anderson says she often ate a meal or answered the phone while breast-feeding, and found she was unable to do so while bottle feeding. Even more crucial was the baby's bedtime routine, during which Anderson read her son a story while breast-feeding.
"My husband also wanted to carry out that same routine when I had to step out," she adds. "He complained, and told me that he just couldn't read a book and hold the baby and a bottle at the same time."
The device has been in development for a year, and has been fitted to a variety of ages and body types, including Anderson, a friend, her husband (who is over 6 feet tall) and her father-in-law. However, to date, no one has actually used the Nurse Me Tender to feed a baby, because the bottle is still just a prototype.
Anderson admits the Nurse Me Tender could become a joke. However, she is passionate about her product, which she says could help not only moms who can't or choose not to breast-feed, but also same-sex couples and other parents who adopt.
"I don't mind the humorous twist," Anderson says, referring to a tongue-in-cheek piece in the Toronto Star, which compared Nurse Me Tender to the Manary Gland, a gag in the comedy "Meet The Fockers."
"I do take my product very seriously, though," she says.
Gina Crosley-Corcoran, a Chicago-based mom and breast-feeding advocate who blogs at The Feminist Breeder, says she can see the appeal of this product for those who miss out on breast-feeding because of adoption or other issues.
"However, no man-made device in the world can ever substitute the health and wellness benefits of direct skin-to-skin contact with a real human mother and her breast," she tells ParentDish. "This device seems to put more distance between the parent and their child than simply cuddling with a bottle."
It could also, she adds, make bottle feeding more of a hassle than it already is.
"One of the reasons I love breast-feeding so much is that it's none of the work that bottle feeding was," Crosley-Corcoran says. "How much extra time does it take to strap on that device?"
Anderson says she knows there may be critics, but she's pushing forward with her plans to get the product into development. She is seeking funding now, and hopes to manufacture and have Nurse Me Tender on the market by spring of 2011.
"I am completely all right with people liking it or not liking it," she says. "I feel I had such an awesome experience with breast-feeding that I want to share that with people who can't."
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