If you are here you are probably interested in hearing more about my personal journey.
My story begins with a very challenging pregnancy, locked in four walls and bored out of my mind, I did the same thing any first time mom does – I read a lot of parenting books,
I was obsessed. The world of child development was fascinating to me, and I wanted to know it all: education, psychology, physiology, biology, anything I could put my hand on. But noting was more interesting to me than breastfeeding.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to breastfeed at the beginning. I knew all the challenges of breastfeeding and my curiosity came from an entirely different place. To me, it was more like magic than nature. The fact that my body is able to change the breastmilk I produce and identify my baby’s health condition and I can actually see the changes just by looking at my breastmilk colour. It was just mind-blowing.
Naturally, my curiosity drove me to buying my first pump. By the time I chose my first breast pump I knew everything there was to know about pumping and breastfeeding and I was mentally prepared for the challenge. I had one sentence that I played on repeat in my head from the delivery room “I am not forcing myself. If breastfeeding would come easily, I’ll do it. If not, I won’t feel bad.” (If I am honest I think it was sort of a defense mechanism so I won’t get disappointed if things don’t go the way I want them to go…).
I wonder how I would have reacted if someone would have told me then how my life is going to change…
Anya’s birth was like any other. It wasn’t the smoothest, but it wasn’t horrible. My oxytocin levels were through the roof, and I got lucky, I got to breastfeed her right there and then in the delivery room. The thing I remember the most was an overwhelming feeling of elation, and the dawning understanding that I never really knew what love was, until I met my daughter.
After everything was over, and I was left alone with my baby, I decided to try out my breast pump. I was (like most days) experimenting and trying to fill my curiosity. I wanted to know and put practice and theory together.
I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions (with a helping hand from the hormones no doubt) I was having when I first tried my pump. I can only tell that the main one was confusion, but there where many others:
Anger – did I really just spend so much money on this thing!?
Self-blame – after all my careful research, is this the best I could find?
Insecurity – maybe it’s me? Maybe I don’t have enough milk?
Again, confusion – but where is every thing I ever read about breastfeeding? What was I missing….?
Again, self-blame – what was I missing…?
What was I missing.
This phrase became the main title of my life for the coming months.
I refused to believe that this pump was the best out there.
What was I missing?
For the following three month I went around asking anyone I could this one question.
I joined many mom groups, breastfeeding groups and clubs. I went to parenting classes, lactation specialists and child development specialist and even to my daughter’s doctors and asked anyone I could think of: what was I missing? Was this the best breast pump out there?
I was really young. My entire life I depended on products that were there to make my life easier and more efficient. I could not make peace with the fact that my breast pump is not my best friend. Unlike my phone, my laptop, my vacuum robot, my car…. I was a technology junky who got emotionally attached to gadgets and technology, and not I realized that technology has failed me. I took it very personally.
Can you guess what I did next? I am not a very complicated person to figure out.
Here comes the research dive.
It was absolutely the wrong timing to divide my focus on yet another hobby-research-project. I was in the middle of expanding my learning center. There were movers and renovation and new teachers and work books (not to mention a tiny baby attached to me 24\7….). But I couldn’t help myself, I was obsessed.
Peer reviews, clinical data, medical literature, patents, articles about all kinds of innovations. I did not find anything that would answer my question.
I was boiling.
All around I could hear “No breast pump will ever be able to be even close to breastfeeding, it’s a myth”.
The history of breast pump taught me that the patent was actually copied from milking machines for cows somewhere in the middle of the 19th century, and that the main working principal was not changed since then. While breast pumps did not make significant innovative strides, milking machines were producing innovations left and right. I got to the habit of answering mom who claimed they feel like cows with the answer “trust me, when it comes to milking cows get a more efficient product than you…”
Meanwhile I was becoming a broken record:
What was I missing?
What was I missing?
I remember my breaking point very clearly. Anya (Annabella) was about 2 months old.
I was sitting in the kitchen, just finishing up some work, when my husband came in and made himself a cup of coffee.
“We need to by a 3D printer” I told him.
“No…. We do not….” He answered, as clam as only a person that is living with me can be.
“If you want me to continue breastfeeding our daughter we have to buy a 3D printer and make me a breast pump with a baby’s tongue!” I was really not in the mood for explanations.
“What do you mean ‘make you’? Go and buy yourself one!” by his look I guess he thought I was being crazy (which to be honest, I really was…).
“There’s nothing like that in the stores, and I am not wasting my time on inefficient breast pumps!”
“Do you realize what you just said? Are you sure about this?” I saw the sparks behind his eyes, I was not the only one with unhealthy reactions to new and exiting information, but mine was always research while my husband always took things to practice…
“I don’t have time for your nonsense and your business opportunities ideas right now! Are you going to help me make this breast pump or not?! I can’t keep going like this!”
I don’t remember the rest of our conversation.
I do remember everything that followed.
I remember all the meetings, the first attempt to 3D-print the pump (just a piece of plastic with a rotating element and a huge wave of disappointment when I realized I won’t be able to use it and that there was still a long way to go… who knew you can’t produce a high-quality mass produce breast pump with a tiny printer? I know I didn’t!).
We made a short video, a few seconds of the model working, and my husband shared it on Facebook. He didn’t tell anyone.
The next day we woke up to an avalanche of calls, emails and inquiries. Parents, grandparents, distributers, doctors, nurses, sellers, everyone was reaching out to us.
From that day on I stopped asking what was I missing and started asking “How come no one did this before me?”
The video was published somewhere during 2017. Many years has passed since that day, and I am a completely different person than I was back then.
I never got answers to my questions, not satisfactory answers that is….
But I can answer anyone who’s asking that there is someone who not only thought about a breast pump with a tongue but actually made one. There is someone who did not stop until an efficient and pleasant breast pumping option was introduced to the market.
A breast pump that will prevent moms from experiencing all the negative emotions I had with my first (and second, and third…) pump.
I have always known I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. Before my daughter was born I thought that something was teaching.
Now I know that my calling is changing the breastfeeding world. I am here to right a wrong. I am here to make every pumping experience positive
I am here so that my daughter will never have to say “I hate pumping”.
I am here to change the world.