Attention new moms: A way to make more milk with less pain

Alumna-founded LiLu promises to make life as a new mom easier by making breast pumping more comfortable and more productive.

Design of Lilu
Design of Lilu

Currently, an expected 13 million moms overall utilize a bosom pump to create milk for their children. Almost two-thirds of mothers complain that pumping is uncomfortable, time-consuming, and does not always help them produce adequate milk supply.

According to a research, breast hand compression while pumping can improve milk quantity and quality.

Focusing on the solution, Vazquez Ortiz, who majored in mathematics with computer science at MIT and her co-founder, Sujay Suresh have developed an automated compression bra that is truly hands-free. The bra hooks onto an existing pumping bra can be charged for two days and uses air instead of hands to massage a mother’s breasts while she pumps.

Dubbed as LiLu, this bra is compatible with most standard pumps on the market today. Pumping moms report between 30 and 50 percent increases in milk supply both during a session and over time.

Lilu founders Adriana C. Vazquez Ortiz ’11 and Sujay Suresh Photo courtesy of Lilu.
Lilu founders Adriana C. Vazquez Ortiz ’11 and Sujay Suresh
Photo courtesy of Lilu.

A few mothers praise the item’s capacity to make pumping more comfortable. One mother battling with “mom thumbs” — a typical and agonizing condition from repetitive hand pressure — was satisfied that she could at long last offer her hands a reprieve.

Vazquez Ortiz said, “It’s really rewarding that we are making a difference … we can’t move fast enough. Despite the limited marketing, I’m receiving frequent emails from moms eager to try out the LiLu.”

Along the way, Vazquez Ortiz has turned to her friends at MIT as an informal focus and support network. She recently attended the MIT Media Lab’s Make the Breast Pump Not Suck hackathon and meets with other female founders regularly. “My best friends are all from my college years. They are the [company’s] first supporters and mentors.”

What’s next for LiLu? The company continues to improve upon the compression bra but thinks that this is just the beginning. “We’re making the whole transition to motherhood a little easier through technology,” Vazquez Ortiz says.