On September 20-21, 2015, MIT hosted a breast pump hackathon which they modeled after their infamous computer programming competitions. “Make The Breast Pump Not Suck” drew in a large group of engineers, designers, moms, dads, nurses, lactation consultants, and public health researchers, all sharing innovative ideas on how to upgrade breast pumps.

Many have argued in a world full of technological advancements how it is possible the breast pump has undergone hardly any changes.  Well, we do not think that is completely accurate.  Take Medela for example.  Over the past 30 years Medela has brought some of the best breast pumps to market; breast pumps that mimic the suckling of an infant, breast pumps that increase milk supply, and breast pumps that can cut pumping time down by half.

The article that changed it all...

Writers Courtney E. Martin and John Carey published an article in the New York Times and it raised good points.  Entitled “Shouldn’t the Breast Pump Be as Elegant as an iPhone and as Quiet as a Prius by Now?” , MIT might be on to something with the “Make The Breast Pump Not Suck” hackathon and truth be told, this article was the driving force for the “Make The Breast Pump Not Suck” hackathon.

It is not fair to think MIT does not understand the good current breastpumps do; in fact, on the official hackaton website they state, “Breast pumping helps parents give their babies breast milk for a longer period of time.  It saves lives for preemies.  The public health benefits are off the charts.  But pumping sucks!”.

“Pumping Sucks” (…according to MIT)

  • The motor is loud
  • There are too many parts
  • They are hard to clean
  • You can’t lay down and pump
  • There is no good space to pump
  • It’s hard to keep track of what you pump

Maybe some of the above does not bother you.  Maybe all of the above bothers you.  Either way, MIT is on a mission to give the breast pump a redesign.

So, who won?

Make The Breast Pump Not Suck 1st Place: Mighty Mom utility belt

Make The Breast Pump Not Suck 2nd Place: Helping Hands

Make The Breast Pump Not Suck 3rd Place: PumpIO

There were many inventive ideas at MIT’s “Make The Breast Pump Not Suck” hackathon.  The first place winner will even be heading to Silicon Valley to pitch their idea to investors.  Time will tell if this or any of the other concepts will materialize, however, we are always on board for making breast pumps more comfortable, efficient, and convenient.  Breast really is best!