It was 2014.
We had spent time designing an ergonomic self-paced bottle for premature babies. We knew it would help babies in hospitals. We also though it would resolve a lot of the very obvious frustrations of mothers with standard bottles. Amazon bottle reviews were a great resource. So were the numerous blogs and forums where feeding is passionately discussed. Excitement was in the air.
But when we talked to the medical device industry about selling it to hospitals we found little interest. We got the message that it was going to be an uphill struggle to get the ball rolling in hospitals. If we were going to help mothers with their babies we would have to find a quicker way, a more direct way. It was deflating but, ultimately, inspiring.
We started thinking about the challenge of going up against entrenched bottle companies with a new product for mothers. This too looked like an uphill battle. We noticed a surge of baby bottles from new and obscure companies. But nobody was focused on Paced Feeding. Forced feeding was still the norm. The bottle industry misguidedly continued to make ever more elegant, convenient, and/or complex products without regard to the laws of nature.
The big baby brands are no pushover. But we had a secret weapon. We knew from the research how to track a baby’s feeding performance with a monitor. We knew what to measure and what the data would tell us. We thought of it as a complex diagnostic device for the NICU.
But, but, but, what if we make a feeding bottle with the smarts to monitor feeding and we provide parents with the data. We could de-stress the bottle feeding experience. We could change everything. The hunger for data would drive adoption. Forced feeding would be eliminated. Babies would thrive. Eureka.
Now we had excitement. We broadly knew how to make a smarter bottle, a smart feeder.
2015 came around. We formed a smart feeding company to make the smart feeder and we named it Thrive.