Coroflo has developed the Coro, the world’s first accurate breastfeeding monitor. The revolutionary device uses wireless sensor technology to assist mothers who may be facing particular problems in breastfeeding their children.
"The WHO recommends that mothers continue to breastfeed for the first six months of their child's life," says Coroflo's co-founder and chief executive Roseanne Longmore. "In Europe, just 13 per cent of mothers breastfeed for six months, and Ireland has one of the lowest rates in the world."
One of the main causes is fear among mothers regarding the supply of milk, she explains. It is not that mothers don’t want to breastfeed in many cases; they are anxious about the amount of milk their child is getting. This leads them to start supplementing with formula milk and this eventually results in cessation of breastfeeding.
“This is a real problem in developed countries and we are the first to come up with a solution to it,” Longmore notes.
The Coro is based on a standard silicon breast shield commonly used by mothers to protect their nipples or assist babies to latch during feeding. The Coro incorporates a tiny sensor which measures the milk flow and transmits it via Bluetooth to an app on the mother’s phone.
The device has its genesis in the experience of Longmore's two co-founders, Dr Helen Barry and James Travers. Their son was born at full-term but was less than five pounds in weight. Weight gain was massively important, and it was crucial to have accurate information on how much milk he was being fed.
The app is very interesting. It gives mothers real time information and they can see the feed as it happens
Travers has a background in electronics and his most recent experience in 3D printing had given him exposure to flow-metering technologies. Combining that with Barry’s knowledge as a medical doctor, and Longmore’s background in business and financial services, led to the establishment of Coroflo and the development of the now-patented Coro.
“We raised €900,000 in a seed round and launched the company in April of 2017,” says Longmore.
The device gives mothers and medical professionals very important and useful insights. “The app is very interesting,” says Longmore. “It gives mothers real time information and they can see the feed as it happens. They also have a record of every feed from each breast for comparison. There are all sorts of data analytics they can access.”
Mothers can also use it to see when a child is actually feeding or is just latched onto the breast for comfort. “If a child is latched on for an hour they can see if they are feeding for the whole time or not,” says Longmore.
The Coro will also open up potential new lines of research, with mothers being able to upload data for use in large-scale breastfeeding studies by health services or other organisations.
The device will be launched commercially early in 2019. "We will be selling exclusively through the McCabe's and McAuley's pharmacy chains in Ireland for six months before moving on to the UK, Germany, France and Italy, " says Longmore.