When babies are born, they have a natural reaction to suck, swallow, and breathe in a timed order that prevents them from aspirating milk and choking. This helps them to get the nutrients they need to survive. But in poor countries, when a baby is born premature, they haven’t always developed this natural reflex, and oftentimes, they die of starvation. Thankfully, a group of researchers and scientists have come up with a revolutionary solution…and it only costs $1.
This silicone bowl is soft enough to mold to an infant’s mouth, and has a tiny reservoir that only lets out as much milk as the infant can suckle, allowing them to breathe normally and develop without aspirating the milk. It’s also durable enough to be boiled over and over to be sterilized.
This design is especially helpful to babies with a cleft palate who can’t use a regular bottle. Families who can’t afford bottles often end up trying to use whatever they have at home. Medicine cups, coffee cups, or bowls, but the infants can’t use them and end up spilling a large amount of the expressed breast milk – the difference is life and death for many of these children.
The cup is called a NIFTY cup, and its unique design is large enough for a mother to express milk directly into the bowl and fit it to her baby’s mouth. The baby controls the amount and the pace, allowing them to drink normally even if they don’t have the skills to do so on their own. The cup does all of the work for them.
“The cup was designed for what babies do,” said Dr. Michael Cunningham, director of the craniofacial center at Seattle Children’s, when he witnessed the cup in action.