Ultra-Personalised Breast Pumps: Reducing Discomfort and Improving Breast Pumping Experience

Philips Experience Design


This project focusses on augmenting the ergonomic comfort of breast pumping by addressing pump-related discomfort and advancing ultra-personalisation. Through an in-depth examination of lactation principles and the challenges mothers face during breast pumping, two primary pain points were identified: the absence of emotional connectivity with breast pumps, hindering milk ejection, and discomfort arising from poorly matched breast pump shields. Envisioning a solution, the project proposes a breast pump design optimised for emotional and physical stimuli, alongside an improved pressure distribution to alleviate discomfort. The design process involved the development of a perfect-fit silicone shield, employing 3D scanning for precise contour mapping and material testing for optimal comfort. The novel shield design was evaluated through pressure distribution analysis using phantom breasts, showcasing a more uniform force application compared to conventional shields. This innovative approach marks a significant stride towards ultra-personalised breast pump design, promising a more comfortable and effective pumping experience.

Problem Definition

The project delves into the fundamental challenges of breast pumping: the lack of emotional engagement with the device, impairing hormonal responses necessary for efficient milk ejection, and the discomfort caused by ill-fitting breast pump shields. These issues often lead to a subpar pumping experience, affecting both milk output and maternal well-being.

UPPS Workflow Description

Collect Phase


This phase involved a thorough investigation into breast sensitivity, using 3D scanning to gather detailed data on the contours and sensitivities of individual breasts. The project aimed to understand the variance in discomfort thresholds across different areas of the breast, which is crucial for tailoring the breast pump design to meet personal needs. The approach was to map out the specific areas where discomfort is most felt, to inform the design of a more comfortable and effective breast pump.


The development of specialized equipment, particularly a prototype for a perfect-fit breast pump shield, was a key focus. This prototype was critical in exploring how personalised designs could alleviate discomfort associated with breast pumping. The shield was tested for its ability to conform to the unique shapes of different breasts, promising a significant improvement in the comfort of breast pumps.

Analyse Phase


Using the data obtained from the sensitivity analysis, the project identified specific areas on the breast that would benefit from personalised pressure distribution. This was done by analysing the collected data to pinpoint where the discomfort is most prevalent, thereby guiding the design modifications needed to enhance comfort.


A comparative analysis was conducted between traditional breast pump shields and the newly developed personalised shields. This comparison aimed to highlight the improvements in comfort and effectiveness achieved with the personalized design. The findings from this analysis were instrumental in refining the design of the breast pump shield, ensuring it offers a better fit and greater comfort for users.

Design Phase

Parametric Modelling

Parametric modelling enabled the adaptation of the breast pump design based on individual user data. This approach allowed for dynamic adjustments to the design, ensuring that each breast pump could be customised to fit the unique anatomical features of the user. The use of parametric models facilitated a level of personalisation previously unattainable, ensuring that the final product could accommodate the diverse needs of nursing mothers. The process involved iterative prototyping, where each iteration was evaluated against the backdrop of user comfort and efficiency. The prototypes underwent testing on artificial breast models, which was important in validating the ergonomic advantages and ensuring an enhanced fit compared to traditional designs.


Feedback from users and experts was integral to refining the breast pump design. This participatory approach ensured that the perspectives and preferences of the end-users were central to the development process, fostering a sense of ownership and alignment with user needs.

Produce Phase

Use Phase


The project addressed critical issues of breast pumping, notably the discomfort stemming from standard breast pump shields and the lack of emotional connection with the devices. Through research and experimentation, a prototype for a personalised breast pump shield was developed, demonstrating the potential for significant enhancements in comfort and efficiency. The insights garnered from this research are invaluable for the future development of ultra-personalised breast pumps, underscoring the importance of ergonomic design in improving the pumping experience. The findings advocate for continued innovation in breast pump design, with a focus on accommodating anatomical diversity and addressing psychological factors to support mothers in their breastfeeding journey.

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