One Amazing Breast Pump Invention and Six Ideas for More

“I love pumping milk from my breasts,” said NO WOMAN EVER.

From the cost to the time it consumes to all the parts you have to tote around, there’s a lot to hate about using breast pumps… but countless nursing moms still put up with it so we can produce and store milk while at the office or on the go. Now two Johns Hopkins University doctoral students may have figured out a way to make the whole process more convenient with what The Baltimore Sun is calling a “stealth breast pump.”

This new pump—officially called the Gala Pump—is hands-free, quiet and, perhaps best of all, compact enough to fit comfortably in an undergarment, according to a statement released by Johns Hopkins. It’s “designed to allow nursing mothers to discreetly pump in the presence of others.”

In other words, you might no longer have to choose between your regular afternoon pumping session and attending that last-minute budget meeting. “Yes, Jim, I’m pleased to report we do have a lot of liquidity right now.”

One of the inventors, Susan Thompson, came up with the idea while struggling to incorporate pumping into her work life after the birth of her first child. Thompson joined fellow grad student Adriana Blazeski to form the company DS Labs to develop the device.

The pair recently won a $2,500 third place prize in the annual Biomedical Engineering Innovations, Design and Entrepreneurship Awards competition, sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. The contest judges likely weren’t nursing moms or the inventors would have probably won second or first place, a Baltimore Sun columnist joked.

Thompson said the winnings would be spent on seeking approval to test the device on women, liability insurance and “further refining the prototype, so that the Gala Pump can help moms worldwide.”

Coincidentally, while Blazeski and Thompson were working on their creation, I’d been brainstorming some breast pump innovations of my own. Check out Blazewski and Thompson’s diagram of their device, plus my meticulously crafted sketches of my own ideas, below. Granted, my imaginary inventions might be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but if any inventors want to run with them, I won’t say no—just cut me a percentage of the profits, would ya?

  • Breast Pump Innovation, Real and Imagined 1 of 8

    Click through to check out these high-tech inventions!

  • The Gala Pump 2 of 8

    The Gala Pump -- which gets its name from the Greek word for milk -- "uses massage-induced milk expression that mimics hand-expression and has a low-profile collection system that includes a reservoir at the base of the breast," according to the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance website. And now for some ideas from yours truly...

    Image courtesy Johns Hopkins University.

  • The Ryan Gosling Motivational Pump 3 of 8
    Ryan Gosling voice for breast pump

    Many women swear that their breast pumps talk to them—let's make this delusion an alluring reality with a pump that really does talk... in the voice of strong but sensitive actor-turned-Hey Girl meme superstar Ryan Gosling. Listen as Gosling whispers sweet, soothing messages like, "Hey girl, your let-down reflex never lets me down." Pumping never felt this sexy!

    Ryan Gosling image courtesy Georges Biard via Wikimedia Commons

  • The PumperCycle 4 of 8

    "Your legs look great—you must PumperCycle a lot!" Expect to hear compliments like these and much more when you start using this breast pump -recumbent bicycle combo. Bonus: Click on "green mode" to let your own cycling actually power the breast pump. It's a win for mother earth and your gams!

  • Pump and Bang 5 of 8

    What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "pump and bang?" Why drumming, of course! There's a distinct rhythm to pumping so why not rock out to it with this combination pump and drum set? Top-of-the-line speakers amplify that unmistakable breast pump sound while a complete five-piece drum set lets you play along. Recruit a couple of guitar players and before you know it, you'll have your own garage band worthy of a cool name like "Mammary Jam" or "The Smashing Pumpers."

  • The Pumpkini 6 of 8

    A bikini top equipped with built -in breastshields made just for your pump. Catch rays while catching milk... just watch out for those tubing tan lines!

  • The SolarPump 7 of 8

    Never worry about forgetting your pump's batteries while on the go again! The solar panel on this one-of-a-kind pump will provide all the power you need while you're pumping outdoors. A perfect environmentally-friendly companion to the Pumpkini.

  • Pump and Drive 8 of 8

    Chances are you know someone who pumps at the wheel—make her life easier with the gift of a pump and drive, the first pump designed exclusively for breastmilk-expressing motorists. The breastshields attach to your seatbelt while extra long tubing ensures that dreaded hand-over-hand turns don't lead to painful snags. Go ahead, lactating ladies—commute with confidence!


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