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Is Fear of Being Caught Naked an Obstacle to Increasing Breastfeeding Rates?

Edgy Internet campaign focuses on workplace culture to empower professional women to breastfeed

Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) May 10, 2010 -- Is the primitive fear of being caught naked causing countless women to quit breastfeeding each year?

That is one premise a California startup, Dao Health, is contributing to the public conversation about breastfeeding in an edgy new internet campaign that is taking a look at a variety of challenges different women face. “Our aim is to help women overcome various personal, social and structural obstacles to workplace lactation,” said Dan Garbez, cofounder of Dao Health. The campaign’s first message comes in the form of a viral video.

“Women in workplaces across America have told us that they have had the experience of someone unexpectedly walking in on them while they’re undressed and using a breast pump, and they worry that being accidentally exposed at work may have unpredictable consequences for their professional lives. And some women simply say that taking off your clothes at work is unprofessional,” said Garbez, adding that the company has heard more of these stories than they can count. “But having to get naked is only part of the problem.”

Other women fear that taking extra breaks to pump and requiring others to cover for them makes them look less dependable, less of a team player, or less committed to the success of their organization. So they don’t want to ask for any special accommodations.

Larger companies are required to provide private rooms and extra unpaid break time for women, if they request it, so these perceptions may not be a threat to every woman’s job. But many women nevertheless see pumping as a threat to their professional goals, especially in competitive environments.

Even if there is no downside for coworkers and the employer if a woman chooses to use a lactation room at work, these accommodations may very well be a threat to her desire to get home as early as possible to her family and baby, if pumping causes her to regularly get behind on her work. If she works in a small business, the choices may be even more difficult. If the small business can’t afford to accommodate her, her only practical choices may be to either give up working, or give up breastfeeding… That is, until now.

Dao Health has developed a game-changing technology that allows women to use a breast pump while fully clothed, and in just about any environment necessary. The only limitation really is a woman’s own desire. The first incarnation of the technology to hit the market, the Freemie system, exponentially expands the possibilities for a mother trying to figure out how and when she’s going to pump at work or home.

The Freemie is a hands free, concealable breast pump milk collection system that is used with the traditional heavy duty electric breast pumps. The Freemie system allows women to keep their clothes on, and pump hands-free because the breast funnel is integrated into its natural shape so that it fits right inside a woman’s regular bra, where it securely collects the milk. Dao Health says this technology will be the key to increasing breastfeeding rates among working women in the future.

“This is a generational advance in the technology, and this first video is intended to speak to a tech-savvy generation of mothers. They don’t necessarily share many of the older generations’ sensitivities. When they become aware of the Freemie through their social networks, many will think it’s absurd when someone tells them they need to go to a private room to use a breast pump, meanwhile falling behind in their work. By using a woman’s existing bra and fitting under her ordinary clothing, the system is simpler to employ, works well, and offers greater flexibility and control over her time and the other tasks in front of her. All around, it’s just more efficient. And younger generations are pretty quick to dump obsolete equipment,” said Garbez.

Using humorous videos on Youtube and other creative communications, the campaign is confronting the practical barriers that women face head on. In the first video two women who have just had babies are working with others in an office when a gunman, a former intern at the company, bursts in. The entire story is gritty comedy, to satirize the point that many women are afraid of being seen naked by a coworker. But the not so subtle point is that mom can be a hero at work, and still bring home her milk.

The company is planning more edgy videos on more sensitive subjects. For example, many women don’t care what others think and will pump wherever they have to, but for others, their own self-image is the key impediment. “I can’t count how many women have told us they hated looking like a dairy cow. And these are just the women who laugh at themselves, and keep pumping anyway. But how many are so turned off by the vision in the mirror that it’s a brick wall for them?” asked Garbez.

How will videos showcasing the Freemie system play to different sets of women? “There may be a thousand different reasons why millions of women will eventually be using this technology. So we’re going to push the envelope, to connect with them in a way that appeals to their priorities. We’re empowering mothers, and putting the ball firmly in their court. The Freemie system is a tool that allows them, for the first time, to pump on their own terms. And everybody wins – mom, coworkers, employer, and of course, baby. We used to ask ourselves the question, ‘will women pump in public?’ But not any more. They’re starting to do it.”
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Source: PRWeb
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