CIRCADIAN BREAST PUMP
Publication Date: 2015-Dec-15
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Circadian breast pump
Background of the invention
The circadian rhythms of babies younger than three months is not fully developed yet and newborns produce minimal melatonine. As a result the sleep-wake rhythm of the babies is not stable. In contrast, for children or adults the melatonin levels follow a clear 24 hour cycle; melatonine levels are more present during the evening to create a sleep pressure build-up, reach a maximum in the middle of the night (when the core body temperature is minimum) and reduces again at the end of the night (see Figure 1). This cycle can also be found in breast milk, where the melatonin levels follow a clear 24 hour cycle (see Figure 2). Melatonine is present in breast milk and it is shown that babies getting exclusive breast milk tend to sleep longer during the night and have better entrained sleep/wake cycles compared to bottle-fed babies (Cubero, et al. 2005, Engler, et al. 2012). Also, melatonine sooths the muscles reducing the colic in babies.
Breast feeding women often use a breast pump to express milk for the baby at moments when they cannot immediately give it to their baby. For example, when a mother is working and the baby is in daycare she will collect the milk and save it for later use (e.g., give it to the daycare center when they bring their baby). Also it happens often that mothers collect expressed milk during other and a variety of times during the day and night. Typically the date is added on the bottle and is then saved in a fridge. This appears to be an annoying task as the date stickers get less visible when put in the fridge and the stickers has to be scratched of and replaced every time the bottle is re-used. When milk is needed a random bottle is retrieved from the fridge. Thus, it happens often that milk collected during time A on a day is provided to the baby at time B.
Problems or disadvantages overcome by the invention
This can cause a mismatch between melatonine intake of the day having direct impact on the baby sleep patterns and might even impact the entrainment of the circadian clock of the baby. Let alone, the impact of the baby's behavior on the mothers (frustration) who tries to bring the baby a sleep at certain times of a day. To illustrate 1, when breastmilk is collected during daytime (low melatonine levels) and provided during the evening or early night the baby might not sleep as well and shorter. To illustrate 2, when breastmilk is collected during evenings or early nighttime (high melatonine levels) and provided during day time, the baby might get sleepy during day time and have a lower sleep build-up during the night. Furthermore, extrapolating the data in figure 1 towards younger age groups suggests that the melatonin levels are especially important for babies.
Generally people are not aware of the impact of the circadian rhythms on their body hormone levels, let alone that it can be also given through to the baby via breast milk. As parents...