Unmet Need: Simple method to measure milk production in mothers and consumption by infants.
Adequate milk production by breastfeeding mothers and milk consumption by their infants are critical for optimal infant nutrition and growth during neonatal life. With current trends toward increasing breastfeeding in both the US and around the globe, there is an increasing desire and need for a simple method to measure milk production and infant milk consumption in both healthy and high-risk neonatal situations. Methods currently used to evaluate these parameters involve complex stable isotope techniques, labor-intensive 24-hour infant weighing protocols, and stressful collection of mother’s milk over an extended period of time. These approaches are expensive, difficult to implement, provide low-resolution measurements, and/or are invasive in nature.
The Technology: High-tech bra with embedded breast volume sensors.
In response to issues discussed above, researchers at Washington State University have developed the “IntelliBra,” a high-tech yet completely comfortable bra designed to be worn and used by breastfeeding mothers. The IntelliBra effortlessly measures volumetric changes in the breast and correlates these values with the amounts of milk both produced in the breast and consumed by the infant. The IntelliBra is also capable of measuring breast temperature which is an indication of mastitis, a common problem faced by many nursing mothers.
• Real-time data for mothers and physicians regarding sufficient milk production and if infant is consuming adequate amounts.
• Study the health of nursing mothers like indication of mastitis.
• Monitoring breast health and breast implant integrity via volume, density and temperature changes.
• IntelliBra has skin-soft sensors that perfectly conform to the breast as its shape changes in response to milk production and output.
• Effortless and continuous access to shape and breast’s temperature data processed and wirelessly transmitted to smart device for the breastfeeding mother.
• Accurate results capable of detecting a 1 mm (0.03 ounce or 0.2 teaspoon) change in volume and a 0.2 oF change in temperature.
United States Patent PCT/US2018/035405 published on 12/06/2018.