A New Device Lets Dads Breastfeed Their Babies

Written by Erin Feher
9:00 am
04/01/19

Photos Via Dentsu

Sometimes it seems, no matter how helpful the parenting partner, there are a few loads that a woman will inevitably have to carry alone. Breastfeeding has long been one of those, but a new device by Japanese company Dentsu wants to change that.

The wearable breast-shaped gadget is equipped with a tank to hold milk or formula. But while a “tank” doesn’t sound especially cozy for baby, the infant-facing portion of the device is soft and heated in an attempt to mimic human breasts. The device also vibrates when baby is feeding, both to induce baby to sleep and to provide a physical signal to the wearer that the baby is engaged.

While the device could prove helpful to all types of parents and caregivers—from women unable to breastfeed to adoptive parents to two-dad households—the Japanese marketing copy promises to help shift, if even slightly, the gross inequity present in most Japanese households.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, men in Japan do fewer hours of household chores and child care than in any of the world’s wealthiest nations. An analysis of government data by Noriko O. Tsuya, an economics professor at Keio University in Tokyo, revealed that Japanese women who work more than 49 hours a week typically do close to 25 hours of housework a week. Their husbands do an average of less than five.

So, getting fathers more involved from day one might actually be an effective way to nudge the culture in a more equitable direction. But of course, there’s the question of “Does it really work?” Will babies take a replica over the real thing? The developers know it’s a concept people might have trouble wrapping their heads around, and appropriately debuted it stateside at the most recent SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, as part of an exhibition called “Pointless Brings Progress.” The premise is that it’s the things with uncertain value that might just herald the future.

Yet, at least in the marketing video, the company insists the Father’s Nursing Assistant is convincing. “With the softness and warmth close to that of a mother’s breast, babies are none the wiser, and can relax as usual.”

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