The practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is recommended by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) based on numerous studies that have demonstrated substantial benefits to both mother and baby. However, the period of exclusive breastfeeding is often shorter than the recommended six months (only 48% of mothers in the least developed countries) due in part to the need for mothers to return to work.

Although federal laws in the United States and in Europe mandate time and appropriate places for workers to express breast milk at work and a wide range of breast pumps are widely available and often subsidized, limited to no opportunities exist for working mothers in low-income countries to breastfeed at work or to buy breast pumps. Both commercial grade and personal-use breast pumps are cost prohibitive and difficult to clean and maintain (especially when access to clean water at home and at work is a challenge), and often rely on power sources that are not available.

The goal of this project is to design a low cost and easy to use and clean breast pump that is suitable for use at home and work in low-resource settings.