Tampa nurse takes Natural Nipple to mass market
Lauren Wright was nervous as she walked into Tampa General Hospital's lactation class in 2018. She wasn't there to learn how to feed a baby, instead she wanted to reinvent how babies are fed.
- "I thought I would be looked at kind of weird for asking moms to scan their boobs," Wright, a nurse practitioner, told Axios. "But I explained my idea that I want to make a nipple more like their breasts and they were like, 'Oh my God, yes, please.'"
Driving the news: Mass production on her bottle started in August. The Natural Nipple, she says, is the first infant feeding system to mimic the natural breast shape, feel and milk flow.
- Wright, who launched her product in 2019, claims to have commercialized the safest bottle nipples for babies born prematurely through the first year of life.
Why it matters: If milk flows too fast, babies can refuse to eat or are at a higher risk of choking, according to Nationwide Children's Hospital.
- Prematurely born newborns need milk flow at a rate under 2.2 milliliters a minute. But how fast it comes from bottles can vary widely and some flow up to 85 milliliters a minute.
By the numbers: Wright surveyed more than 300 parents around the country and found 92% of them experienced difficulties with breastfeeding after the introduction of a standard bottle.
- A 2013 UC Davis Medical Center study of hundreds of first-time mothers found 92% of them had trouble breastfeeding three days after giving birth.
How it works: Parents can take the Natural Nipple's online quiz to determine which of four standard breast shapes match their baby's needs.
- The starter kit is $69 — much more expensive than the average bottle, but Wright argues that parents can waste more time and money through the trial and error of buying different bottles.
- The kit comes with two nipples and two bottles.
What they're saying: Brooklyn Johnson, a Houston-based mother, nanny and newborn care specialist, said Natural Nipple helped her regain autonomy when her daughter refused to use bottles.
- "I was struggling a lot when I found the bottle," she told Axios. "She's hungry, and I don't have to drop what I'm doing and pull out a boob just so she can eat. And that type of relief was just different."
What's ahead: Wright is planning to close a $5 million seed round at the end of the year.
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