Hands up all breast-feeding mothers! Wait a minute, you might not be able to raise your hands right now because your arms are fatigued from holding a 20 pound infant for the last half hour.
Ergonomic design is making life easier and breast-feeding more comfortable for thousands of women. How? Using ergonomics in the design of a new product is addressing common musculoskeletal stresses experienced by mothers.
As the story goes, Andrew Zenoff was visiting a friend who had recently given birth. After much pillow fluffing, the exasperated friend turned to Andrew saying, "Someone needs to invent something that makes holding babies more comfortable." Breast-feeding an infant actually encompasses some of the same risk factors for the development of a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) that are found in industrial and manufacturing tasks. Breast-feeding can include a prolonged exertion of force, awkward postures, and static positioning, and often leads to sore necks and shoulders.
Luckily for nursing moms, engineering controls are now available in the form of an adjustable foam pad that wraps around the mother providing a sort of table for the baby. Zenoff’s creation after visiting his aggravated friend is called the ‘My Brest Friend’.
The purported comforts of ‘My Brest Friend’ include a back support, arm and elbow rests, and a bilateral design meaning it can be used feeding on the left or right side. Testimonials for the product claim that the product reduces forces and awkward postures providing immediately noticeable relief from muscle tension and pain.