From a survey we ran in 2021, for every 10 women who pump, 7 say pumping causes them damage, pain or discomfort, and 8 say it makes them "feel like a cow".
We want to change this at Milkdrop, so we’re redesigning the breast pump from the nipple up – putting women’s comfort front and centre.
- After four years, hundreds of prototypes, two pilot programs and thousands of data points, Milkdrop is helping make pumping comfier with our patent-pending breast pump cushions.
- 9 out of 10 women who use our silicone cushions say their pump is more comfy. Given pain and discomfort is one of the primary reasons mums choose to stop feeding breastmilk earlier than they planned, this is an excellent outcome for mothers who are pumping.
- People using Milkdrop cushions reported that their pain scores reduced from 6/10 to 0.5/10.
Wait, who is Milkdrop and what’s this breast pump cushion?
Milkdrop is an Australian-based design group who have developed the Milkdrop breast pump cushion - a soft silicone pad which stretches over the head of most breast pumps to make pumping more comfortable. The cushions are made from ultra-soft silicone that, due to their unique shape, deform under suction to better mimic a baby's suck.
Our cushions are also the softest, highest quality and (we believe) most comfortable breast pump cushions on the market.
👇 Here's a gif showing a nipple in a pump without a cushion
👇 And here's a gif showing a nipple in a pump with a cushion on. See how the nipple is supported and moving but the areola still draws through.
Why we launched Milkdrop
Given that up to 85% of women in the US and 66% of women in Australia will use a pump at some point in their feeding journey, it was unbelievable to us that 17% of women using pumps were still having nipple pain, and 80% were having a negative experience. This equates to almost 200,000 Australian women and 3 million US women every year experiencing damage, pain, and “feeling like a cow”.
While there is a constellation of problems surrounding pumping, we started with one of the biggest – pain, discomfort and damage caused by breast pumps.
The global breast pump market size has been valued at USD 2.74 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% from 2023 to 2030. That’s millions of women who will use a breast pump. A growing number of these women are looking for ways to make breast pumping more comfortable, especially with an increase in visibility around how and why women’s pain has traditionally been ignored. Mothers are becoming aware that pumping doesn’t have to equal pain. 30,000 people in the last 12 months have read our educational resources on how to measure your nipple to get the right flange size, a critical component in getting a more comfortable pump. The mothers reading this content are spending an average of 7 minutes on-site, demonstrating how important this issue of comfort when pumping is.
Women are also increasingly expecting not to have to buy add-ons for their pumps in order to use them without pain. In our annual survey, the majority of new mums ranked comfort as the most important criteria when purchasing a breast pump.
We’re certainly seeing these trends in our own website traffic and sales data, with sessions on the Milkdrop site increasing by 390% from Jun - Jul ‘23 when compared with the previous 12 months, indicating strong (and building!) brand awareness. About 75% of the mums we’ve helped are located in the US.
The design process so far
Milkdrop’s breast pump cushions are the result of four years of work, hundreds of prototypes, thousands of conversations, and a whole lot of silicone.
About 18 months ago, we released the results of a pilot study looking at the impact of using a Milkdrop Breast Pump cushion for mums who found pumping painful and uncomfortable. The results were:
- 92% of women found pumping more comfortable
- comfort increased (score: 5 /10 to 9 / 10 where 10=very comfortable).
- nipple swelling decreased (score: 6 /10 to 0 /10 where 10=severe and 0=none)
- nipple swelling decreased (6 /10 to 0.5 / 10), redness decreased (6 /10 to 0.5/10) and damage decreased (4/10 to 0/10) for women identifying as already having an uncomfortable pumping experience.
- 73% of women collected about the same or more milk. Some women reported 50mL extra with the cushion, or taking less time to express the same amount of milk.
- Participants recorded that the cushion felt more ‘like a baby’ (median score: 5/10 to 7/10)
We’ve since used rapid prototyping (following a fast cycle of design, 3D printing, test and iterating) to further refine the design of our cushions to address an issue that was seeing some women express less milk when using their Milkdrop cushion. This version is thinner and less bulky overall allowing for just enough more stimulation at the nipple without removing the key design features of the original cushion. This has since been released to the AU and US markets in four sizes, based on nipple measurements.
Why Milkdrop Cushions are Unique
Milkdrop’s cushions stretch over the head of most pumps. They are made from ultra-soft silicone that has a unique shape with ridges on the underside mimicking the physiology of a baby. As the pump sucks, the cushion deforms and moves with the nipple, creating more support and a more natural feeling.
Listen to the mums
Milkdrop’s 30 day free trial program is designed to ensure mums get the best fit possible (a significant factor in increasing pumping comfort), but also ensures we stay close to our customers. This means we can take their feedback and use it to improve our designs. We’re the only breast pump cushion on the market who offers this kind of trial, and it means we can offer the best product on the market.
But it’s not just our team that thinks so. Mums have rated our breast pump cushions 5 stars, and have shared their thoughts with us via hundreds of emails and public reviews:
How we want to help more women than ever (what’s next)
Our goal is to help as many women as possible get a more comfortable pump, and to do that, we need to get our cushions onto the pumps of as many mums as we can. We’ve got a strong product roadmap of innovative products (including what we think will be a game-changing pump) in the pipeline, starting with cushions designed to fit popular wearable pumps.
We also have the ability to create bespoke cushions for individual pump designs, or even individual people - please get in touch with us if you’re interested in working with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.