At 2:46 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2015, Tim Causa had a revelation that would change his life. He was bottle-feeding his son Jack, who suffered from acid reflux, during his hourly rotation (he was on the nighttime shift) when he made a note on his smartphone. He mentioned his idea to his wife, followed by a tinfoil mockup for explanation. Today that concept has turned into his first foray into entrepreneurship with Swipe and Feed, an accessory that allows you to attach a baby bottle to your smartphone for those middle-of-the-night feedings when your child needs to not be distracted by anything...
Tim Causa of Reston, Virginia was bottle-feeding his newborn baby in the middle of the night when he had the idea for Swipe and Feed. His son, Jack, was basically half asleep during those night feedings and Tim figured he might as well be multitasking. So, in his basement, he cobbled together a plastic device that connected his smart phone to his baby bottle—he could hold Jack in one arm and swipe through his phone with the other. After other parents told him they would use it too, Tim launched a Kickstarter and started manufacturing more. Of course, not all parents embrace the idea, claiming it destroys the parent-baby bond. But, Tim says the Swipe and Feed is the product that many parents won’t admit they’ve always wanted.
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Then Causa, an eagle scout, created a prototype using his MacGyver-like creativity and money from his own pocket to purchase items from a local hardware store. After he sought out a patent attorney and an engineer to iron out the important details, he was ready.
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But then the proud-dad started telling people about the thingamajig he’d nurtured into existence. “They thought it was a great idea, so I talked to more people about it, and they thought it was a great idea.” When enough people told him it was a great idea (Causa prefers the term “market-disrupting”), he learned CAD to make a prototype. He YouTubed himself through building his own 3D printer. He hired engineers and a patent attorney and lined up manufacturers, all on his own dime. And when he realized he would need another twelve grand to make the Swipe and Feed a reality, he bought an ad on Facebook to kickstart his Kickstarter.
I am the first to put up my hand and say having my smartphone to browse while breastfeeding my children was a godsend, and meant I could stay connected with the world while feeding my babies. But if you’re bottle feeding, there are few hands-free options (the Beebo is one). So a pioneering dad has invented the Swipe & Feed, which will hold your baby’s bottle, and your smartphone.
Amanda Gummer, child psychologist from Fundamentally Children, told The Huffington Post UK, she believes a device that could improve a parents’ feeding experience can only be a good thing.
“The issue is how important is it to give your baby your undivided attention whilst they are feeding. My view is that as long as parents are spending lots of time interacting with their babies and children, including eye contact and cuddles and periods of undivided attention we shouldn’t demonise a product that may make parent’s feeding experience more relaxed and enjoyable.”
Causa appeared on the “Today” show on Wednesday and noted afterward on his Facebook page that the Kickstarter goal already has passed 50 percent with 18 days remaining.
“It's hard to believe that an idea I had a year ago has progressed from a rough prototype to a professionally engineered, patent pending product that has now been featured on the ‘Today’ show,” he wrote.
As MNN editor Angela Nelson noted, "I occasionally use my phone while I feed my 18-month-old, and we’re very, very bonded." She added, " In those early days when she was an infant and nursing every 60 to 90 minutes around the clock, I would have gone crazy without my phone as a distraction."
This makes perfect sense to me. Sure, it's lovely to gaze into your baby's eyes and watch her take those little sips. But it's also fine to occasionally look away and zone out to the TV or some music or your smartphone. Do you really need a gadget to help you do that? It's a question only you can answer.
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I wouldn’t personally buy a product like this because I breastfeed. But the way I see it, the Swipe and Feed seems like it could be a great tool for parents, like Tim, who need to get work done from home. They’d have the option of being productive (or, let’s face it, shopping online) while baby is dozing off in a milk coma anyway. It might look a little strange/excessive if parents were walking around a store with a Swipe and Feed, or using it constantly during every single feeding. But that’s not the intention of the product, at least.
Also, in defense of occasionally zombie-ing out on a smartphone while feeding your baby: You can bet my smartphone is within arm’s reach when I’m breastfeeding my daughter. Feeding can take up a huge chunk of time, especially in those early weeks. And half of the time, my daughter is drifting off to sleep during a feeding anyway. Might as well check those emails, like those Facebook posts and catch up on the news if my baby is in dreamland, right?
If you’ve ever struggled to entertain yourself (or simply keep your eyes open) during late-night marathon bottle feedings, this funny-looking contraption may be for you. It’s called the Swipe and Feed, and it was invented by a crafty father who wanted to both swipe and feed simultaneously.