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A New Device Can Help Dads 'Breastfeed' Their Baby!
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Dentsu
  • Sharing babycare duties is slowly becoming a way of life for many couples, and it can only be great for the kids (and moms, really!). Even dads can now have the opportunity to breastfeed their babies and put them to sleep faster with the help of technology.

    A new gadget, dubbed as Father's Nursing Assistant, was recently unveiled at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas, in the U.S. It's a wearable device in the shape and texture of the woman's breasts. One 'boob' contains milk while the other is a feeding system with a silicone nipple, enabling the baby to nurse from his dad, just like he or she would from his mom.

    Believe it or not, it was developed by a Japanese company, Dentsu, with the help of pediatricians and babysitters to urge fathers to participate more in caring for their child, especially in nursing and putting their infants to bed. Also—and perhaps more importantly—to relieve mothers some of the stress caused by sleep deprivation.

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    A movie in the early 2000's that starred actor Ben Stiller featured a contraption similar to what's described above and with the same purpose in the movie Meet The Fockers. It was a part of the movie's humor back then, but now, nearly 20 years after, who would have thought that a company will actually spend resources and time to make one just like it?

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    But it's not the first contraption to successfully allow a dad to breastfeed his baby. The Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) is a lactation aid that's designed to help moms who are struggling with their breast milk supply. Instead of feeding donated breast milk via a cup, bottle or syringe, SNS lets her experience breastfeeding.

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    The SNS is basically milk in a bag, bottle, or syringe connected to a nipple shield via a thin tube. The baby latches on to the nipple, allowing moms, adoptive parents, and dads to nurse the baby. You can make your own or buy it (Medela has it in its product offerings).

    The Father's Nursing Assistant is technology at its finest, providing perks and conveniences to anyone who uses it. According to Dentsu's press release, it has a heating function so you won't have to reheat the milk (you probably only need to thaw stored breast milk). The device also vibrates to induce sleep and help dads feel more actively engaged in the process. It contains sensors that track a child’s breastfeeding (i.e., how much milk your baby has consumed!) and sleeping behavior, and the data is all transmitted to an app on your smartphone.

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    You would think that the product would be received with anticipation, especially in this age when breastfeeding awareness is high. However, the new nursing gadget has received a mix of reactions.

    Moms who would sometimes wish they could transfer their milk-producing breasts to her partners were overjoyed. Some people pointed out that it could be another option for babies who wouldn't take a bottle. Others, men and women both, said it's no different from putting breast milk in a bottle and felt that it's just another way of shaming bottle-feeders even more.

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    There's nothing wrong if some parents want to use it or use bottles, or cup-feed their babies. The Father's Nursing Assistant, just like using the SNS or feeding bottles, cups or syringes, is only another option for parents. It may not be for all parents, and that's okay.

    Can't we just take a minute and salute some dads today who have been trying to include themselves more in baby care and raising kids? These inventions, how odd or silly they may seem, are proof that society is moving forward towards moms and dads having equal parental duties.

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