Milkdrop cushions have made pumping more comfortable for 95% of the women who have tried it, because the cushion is designed to be super soft, mimic baby suckling, and to minimise rubbing on the areola.
In fact, in our pilot studies, nipple swelling and redness all but disappeared from a score of 6/10 pumping without Milkdrop, to 0.5/10 pump with a Milkdrop.
The first step: testing Milkdrop with 1000's of pumping women.
To create a brand new product, you need to do a lot of prototyping, testing and redesigning. For Milkdrop, we went through 20 iterations of this before finding a design that would work for as many women as possible.
In our testing, we've learned more about how and why people using Milkdrop report less swelling, less rubbing and more comfort when they pump.
This is best demonstrated in the video below👇
This video shows what happens to the nipple and areola both with and without a Milkdrop breast pump cushion. See how when there's no cushion, the nipple is dragged into the shaft along with the areola?
(If you're thinking - "but that flange is too large!!". You're correct. This video does show a pump flange that is too large for the nipple, so there is more areola being sucked into the shaft than there should be. We chose a larger flange to illustrate our point.)
Your nipple without a cushion
However, even with a correctly sized flange, your nipple and areola will move, but the plastic won't. This is where the friction and rubbing along the nipple starts to get sore for the 75% women of women who report pain and discomfort when pumping.
In order to get milk out of the breast when pumping without a cushion the nipple (the centre part) still needs to move freely. You'll see in the video that there's a little bit of space around the nipple, which means that a part of the areola is also being sucked into the shaft too. That's where the swelling along the outer edge of the nipple and the areola starts to happen.
Your nipple with a cushion
If you watch the video above again, and take a look at what is happening to the nipple when the cushion is on, you will see four things:
1. The nipple is still moving in the flange
2. The areola is moving too, but it's being supported by the cushion. The whole areola isn't being sucked down the flange.
3. The cushion is compressing and massaging gently around the nipple and areola as the pump sucks (mimicking a baby suckling).
4. The cushion moves with the nipple and areola - it's not just a soft surface, it's actually dynamic!
How is this different from other cushions?
The key difference between the design of Milkdrop and other breast pump cushions is that Milkdrop still allows your nipple to move (like it does with a baby suckling). This is partly because they're extremely soft, and also because of the ribbed design on the back.
our cushions are also designed to last 4-6 months depending on how often you pump, which means you won't need to replace them every 2-6 weeks like other brands. That makes them much cheaper on the hip pocket (and the environment) because you don't need to buy new cushions all the time.
They're also made from medical-grade silicone, which is free from impurities and tested to a higher level of biocompatibility. That means it's ok to put them on your skin if you've already got cracked nipples, chaffed or broken skin. Most cushions are made from food-grade silicone, which is not quite as high quality, and not as safe for you or baby.