Nextiles and Lilu Partner to Offer New Technology Solution for Mothers as Breastfeeding Awareness Month Kicks Off
Nextiles fabric-based sensors to enhance Lilu’s hands-free breast pumping massage bra
Nextiles, the leader in smart fabric technology, expands its modular data capture platform by partnering with technology and women’s health brand Lilu to bring the next level of breast pumping technology to new mothers. Nextiles works with partners across a range of industries to develop personalized, fabric-based sensors to power clothing for consumers’ everyday needs.
The two National Science Foundation (NSF)-backed companies have joined forces as part of a larger initiative during National Breastfeeding Month to spread awareness of the mental and physical challenges new moms endure. To help with this mission, the companies are using Lilu’s advanced breast pumping massage bra and integrating Nextiles’ sensor technology to create novel performance data for new mothers and the broader healthcare industry. Nextiles’ patent-protected manufacturing process blends traditional sewing techniques with printed circuit boards to embed flexible sensors directly into fabrics for the new mom uniform – a breastfeeding-friendly bra. Using fabric such as nylon and spandex, the breast pumping bra is designed to be extremely comfortable and is even machine washable for easy cleanup. The bra will collect data to provide mothers with insights about their lactation, to help them reach their breastfeeding goals. The data captured from Lilu’s bra and Nextiles’ custom-embedded circuitry will be powered by Nextiles’ newly launched software development kit (SDK), allowing Lilu to own and build custom algorithms for the Femtech industry that focus on empowering mothers, so they can be better equipped to reach their breastfeeding goals and ensure their babies’ health. Lilu’s user app will implement Nextiles’ SDK, and will display a plethora of datasets to help moms optimize their breastfeeding and breast pumping routines and maximize their milk production while wearing the hands-free and self-massaging bra.
According to the CDC, only 25.6% of infants are exclusively breastfed through 6 months, which is the minimum amount of time the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. This is low, but it makes sense, as 70% of moms work outside the home and too often go back to work 6-8 weeks postpartum. As moms go back to work and are away from their babies, they begin to pump and constantly stress and ask themselves if they are producing enough milk. Having the data provided by the Lilu Bra will provide moms with peace of mind to continue to breastfeed and take control of their pumping.
“We’re excited to announce this partnership today because it not only shows the diversity of our technology but also by teaming up with industry experts like Lilu, we can solve real problems with our fabric-based sensors, in this case, for new mothers everywhere. Working closely with their apparel and technology team, together, we’re delivering user-friendly technology to new moms who struggle with breastfeeding, while simultaneously shedding light on the obvious gap in Femtech products,” said Nextiles Founder and CEO, George Sun.
“We created Lilu to offer a line of smart bras designed specifically to help new moms adapt to breastfeeding more seamlessly,” said Adriana Vazquez, Lilu CEO and Co-founder. “This demographic of new moms tends to be overlooked in the technology space, but when done correctly technology like this can be a tremendous help. It not only can make pumping more comfortable, but with the addition of Nextiles’ data-driven technology, that added insight will provide users with a sense of reassurance as well.”
Lilu is a recipient of an NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, which is awarded to start-ups with high impact technologies. Nextiles, an NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program participant, will serve as a subawardee and license its core technology to Lilu. The partnership between Nextiles and Lilu aims to help breast-pumping moms tackle the early stages of motherhood and the everyday life demands that their newborn brings by providing a faster, easier and smarter pumping experience.
“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”
Founded in 2018, Nextiles is an innovative materials science and manufacturing company, developing personalized, fabric-based sensors to capture biometric and biomechanics data. Nextiles is reinventing how people connect, interact and engage with their surroundings. Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, Nextiles is redefining modern sewing capabilities to incorporate smart fabric across multiple industries, including athletics, connected fitness, automotive, medical and more. In its early stages of development, Nextiles was recognized and awarded by the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund Program to fund further optimization of the smart fabric technology and was also selected to go through MIT’s accelerator program, Delta-V. For more information on Nextiles, visit: www.nextiles.tech
Lilu was founded by two MIT and Penn engineers who recognized that new moms have been vastly ignored by technology, especially when it comes to postpartum health. The company decided to build a product to make breast pumping more efficient and help more moms reach their breastfeeding goals. Their smart garments and products empower moms during their transition to new parenthood. Lilu’s technology is designed by women and backed by science, so that postnatal care is comfortable and compatible with all of life’s successes, because moms deserve more.
About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Learn more at http://seedfund.nsf.gov.