Started by University of Utah MBA student Nana Ewusi-Emmim two years ago, NipaYe is a breastfeeding-help company focused on assisting mothers to produce milk for their babies. With help from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, she is developing a tool she hopes will be more comfortable and easier to use than what is currently on the market.
Ewusi-Emmim found issues with the current at-the-breast supplemental method following the birth of her first child. She discovered he was starving because he wasn’t getting enough milk. With some research and experimentation, she saw that the current products on the market were not optimal for her needs.
“I started to wonder why there isn’t something better on the market and that is what caused me to start this project,” she said.
Current breastfeeding tools do not cater well enough to what many mothers need. Existing products are susceptible to leakage and attach to the breast by taping down tubes, which can be uncomfortable. The tape cannot be attached too close to the nipple because of sensitivity, and it can be difficult to adjust the tubes while holding a baby.
“Oftentimes these products cannot be used in public,” she added. “It is for in-house use … (mothers) are not comfortable using it in a public setting because of the messy, convoluted nature of it all.”
Ewusi-Emmim collaborated with a lactation-specialist who provided insight on development. She also reached out to the public and received strong feedback. “I surveyed 100 mothers, and they told me what they wanted to see in a new breastfeeding aid and what they do not appreciate in the current ones,” she said. Talking to mothers has been a great guide in project development.
NipaYe’s current prototype is designed to fix the issues through a focus on ease of use and comfort.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.