Sep 15, 2023 - News

Tampa nurse takes Natural Nipple to mass market

Photo: Courtesy of the Natural Nipple

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.

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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