Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Haley Reading Group: “The Squeeze"

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2018)]

Sophie Brickman’s “The Squeeze: Silicon Valley Reinvents the Breast Pump” focuses on the evolution of the breast pump and the most efficient and modern version of it, the Moxxy Flow. Brickman details the difficulties four women engineers encountered when trying to create, market, and sell this product.

To explain the awkwardness of trying to incorporate pumping into daily routines at work, Cara Delzer, cofounder of the Moxxy Flow, likened pumping to “having to take off your pants for half an hour before hopping into a boardroom to deliver an important presentation” (50). She partnered with other businesswomen, marketers, and engineers in 2014, to create multiple versions of a breast pump which would evolve into the current Moxxy Flow. This article highlights how this breasts pumps aids in making women’s lives as mothers and working women practical and efficient.

What's something concerning women in business or women in engineering from the article that really caught your attention? In brief, state why.

41 comments:

Bria B said...

Reading this chapter really brought me memory as to when my mom had my baby sister. She breast fed her and she was looked at weird when she would do it in public, but kept it hidden by either pumping milk in advance or covering my sister and her eating under a blanket. I had no idea, that there were multiple technologies used for breast feeding and the cost of them. I also did not know that scientist and other researches used "cross- dressers" fake boobs to continue their research on pumping techniques and other research.
This reading was really interesting because I didn't know they ranged in variety of prices. I didn't know that they can be very expensive and why would somebody want to purchase such an expensive technology when it would only be used for a few months? Also, the fact that researches test this on white women and black women such as test dummies was interesting as well that people are really fascinated about this. Why can't women just feed their baby in peace with out criticism and thoughts?

Arielle Stallworth said...

Arielle Stallworth

Something concerning women in business from the article that really caught my attention was the fact that in some offices women are offered pumping rooms. This is interesting because this is definitely a luxury that all do not have access to as covered by the ones that pump in their cars, the bathroom, or even in the middle of meetings. This section was also interesting because there was mention of male opinions and confusion as to the importance, necessity, and uncomfortability of pumping.
Something concerning women in engineering from the article that really caught my attention was the fact that there was so much technology that goes into it. I was unaware of the fact that there needed to be different sizes and different forms of suction as well as the fact that they can be covered by insurance (but only the big ones that nobody wants).

Alle💕 said...

“To men who might not understand the situation, she likens it to having to take your pants off for a half and hour before hopping into a boardroom to deliver presentation.”(50). We see here how this mother is explaining to us how hard it is now a days to be a mother as well as a business woman or even and engineer. It’s difficult for people to accept the fact that mothers have to take care of their children as well as complete their daily duties at work and sometimes the two task will clash. Women shouldn’t have to feel like the objective of breast feeding is corresponding to having to take your pants off which is very uncomfortable and that’s most concerning to me. -A.H

Alexis Austin said...

I thought this reading was insightful to everyone but especially to women who haven't yet themselves had children and haven't had to experience these complications yet. The cost of having kids to begin with is already expensive and time consuming, so being a women with an job that's already busy like business and engineering it must be just like having two jobs. In the article, it talks about how women have always had trouble with being able to pump in public and how the pump would be uncomfortable and look very bulky and out of place. I think it's great that there are women reinventing the pumps, but hopefully getting them more affordable for all women through insurance is the next reinvention.

Jaydyn Z. said...

As I read this article, I could not help but feel frustrated by the struggles of these women. While some women are fighting to normalize public breastfeeding, there is still a stigma surrounding it. I also found it upsetting that these powerful women felt inferior due to their need to feed their babies or relieve pain by pumping. When Brickman discusses Cara Delzer's feeling towards needing to pump, she states, "She'd [Delzer] often find herself in pitch meetings slipping parts under her bra and awkwardly explaining to a room full of VC partners-93 percent of whom are men- the indignities of pumping life" (51).
Additionally, I found the price range of different pumping apparatuses to be quite interesting. I did not realize that the price range could be so vast, especially for a product that is not in use for more than a short period of time.

Jalen White said...

To be completely honest, I was extremely jaded in the way that breast feeding could be a nuisance for mothers. I felt for the women that had to explain to a room full of men their issues with breast feeding, I see that as something isn't easy at all. The fact that millions of women had to deal with this ordeal for so long is unfortunate.
One topic that was touched on slightly was the view in the eyes of the public, with Sladden saying, "It's about time we focused on this part of motherhood" (50). There is a weird stigma involving various parts of motherhood, including breast feeding. It's the reason why progress hasn't really been made in the breast pump field, and until that changes, nothing will.

Jalen W.

Kayla P. said...

What I found concerning for women in business or women in engineering from the article is that little about the design has changed since the 1920s. There have been many improvements in many different aspects of our lives, but there yet to be a major one for breast pumps. While women breast pump, they are limited on the amount activity they can do unless they choose to wear a pumping bra as stated on page 50: “If Mom would like to do something with her hands besides hold the cones in place, she needs to wear a sort of medieval corset.” This is especially concerning for busy moms, such as business and engineering women.

—Kayla P.

Kaelyn Cupil said...

What's something concerning women in business or women in engineering from the article that really caught your attention? In brief, state why.

The breakdown on how breastfeeding is such an intimate and almost draining act was really humbling. Knowing that my mother, a working woman when she had me, had to go through such a switch from being a baby's food source then jumping back into the facet of a business woman with quotas to meet really brought the topic home for me; along with being a woman who probably will have children and experience the same things these women were detailing with.

The specific thing that caught my eye was on page 51, where the author details the steep costs of breast pumps. It amazed me that such a... necessity for our modern world was being priced so high even with the high demand it has, and it's not covered by insurance so it's absurd. I likened it to the cost of insulin, how people will die without it, but it's cost still remains at 200+ ranges. Babies will die without proper milk to drink, and mothers deserve to breast feed as needed or pump milk without having to break their bank to keep their babies alive.

Unknown said...

Something I believed to be concerning to women in engineering/business is the level of inequality there is. The women who helped the Moxxly become what it is had to face terrible embarrassment when they had to breastfeed. Having to almost strip completely naked to do something natural and to get weird glares from coworkers is absurd. These women created this product to help women discreetly breast pump, but the price of this is at least 400 bucks and no average mother is going to spend that much. That is also concerning because why are women made and women used products so expensive in the marketplace. Women products are known for being more expensive than men products. The inequality in the work and marketplace is concerning for women everywhere- Lay D.

Anonymous said...

The part that caught my attention was when Cara Delzer talks about having to breastfeed after a meeting. "I'd be in a meeting, then 30 seconds later find myself with my shirt off."(50) I never put much thought into the inconvenience of being a businesswoman and a mother at the same time. In such a cut-throat male-dominated environment having to set aside time in your work schedule to make breast milk for your child and explaining it to people that most likely do not care and only value results must be frustrating. Especially when women have it as rough as it is to be taken seriously in the workplace. -Chris W.

Chaianna Curry said...

Something concerning women in business that caught my attention from this article was the fact that many businesswomen were not kept in mind when the buildings they worked in were created. And in the case of this article, breastfeeding women in particular were the target of neglect. Their places of business completely ignored their needs.
The main example of this was the fact that almost all workplaces lacked privacy for women.There were no private rooms or special areas dedicated to breastfeeding, besides general bathrooms. And unless one is willing to pump in such unsanitary conditions as those, this is a really big issue. I personally feel that more attention should be put on this problem, considering the fact that I will be apart of a future generation of mothers who will come across this same challenge.
-Chaianna C.

Kevin Parker said...

While reading this article the part that caught my attention was the business aspect of the Moxxly Flow where the women had to pitch their ideas to sponsors in order to receive funding for their product. As an engineering major I didn't realize the business relationship involved with the career. Also I found it interesting how the women had to pitch their ideas to companies who where predominantly led by men who may have trouble understanding the challenges a woman face when pumping.

Anonymous said...

Something that caught my attention about such struggles in the workplace after reading was just the idea of inconvenience working mothers face when needing to pump. In some public places, rooms for uses such as lactation or breast pumping exist, but sometimes having to do such an action never really can be planned well enough in order to use that specific room. Some people might see this room as an advantage, but even with this room mothers producing milk cannot plan their sessions around the availability in their schedule around such rooms. Sometimes schedules don't match up at the right times so things become hectic, or even just the action of pumping can take too much time out of the work day when on schedule. Most of the time catching a bathroom break is an issue, but then on top of that a pumping break, or sometimes multiple would take longer and be just as hard or even harder to plan out. - Brooke H.

Tyler Bean-Catencamp said...

I would say that the part that concerns me the most was "Women have to find a private corner, remove their shirts, and watch their nipples get rhythmically suctioned for 20 minutes until they’re fully milked" (50). It caught my attention because it is such a striking description of the "breastmilk extracting process". It conveys what women have to go through in other words than just "the pumps suck milk from the breasts".

-Tyler B.C.

William Akpan said...

After reading this, I was again amazed by how technological innovation can make something that before was more inefficient and uncomfortable more modern and efficient. It's not as if this was some arcane problem that not many people were aware of, the flawed previous design inconvenienced many. One of the first things that caught my attention was the facts that this is not a problem that everyone faces, it is specifically a problem for working mothers and that may have been why not much attention was paid to the issue beforehand. It was also amazing to the the partnership with women from different sectors: Businesswomen, Markets, and Engineers who worked together and used their varying expertise, to solve an issue that affected many mothers in the workplace. - William A.

Deja Lane said...

Reading this made me realize how hard breastfeeding and pumping probably was for my mother. I remember her having to bring a big blanket with her everywhere just to cover up when she was pumping in public. My mom had both my younger sisters during warmer months so she would always be over heated by the pumping process.
Not all jobs and facilities have pumping rooms, and will expect you to just go to the bathroom. I feel that a pumping room isn't just a luxury but its needed for new mommies. Also, pumping in public is not only frowned upon by men, but also women make a big deal of it so the Moxxly could really help moms everywhere not feel judged, and I hope they get all the funding they need to release this at a low price.
-Deja L.

Christopher Yancey said...

I never thought that new mothers don't necessarily get to choose when they have to use these pumps. As a male i never really understood why some public spaces have specified areas for breast feeding mothers because to be honest i thought they can just wait till they get home, but instead its more of an urge that needs to be settled at the moment. a problem like this can be very problematic in the workplace as this process is a distraction and takes up valuable company time since women are expected to be there for long periods of time, with tons of other things to do. its almost like paternity leave is not enough. Also apparently the pumps themselves nowadays "marketed with the baby in mind" and not the mothers as the products also have a large range of prices which can be another huge obstacle.

Terence Jones said...

The that grabbed my attention most in this article was the fact that there are all these supplies and tools for the baby and way less for the person that's actually birthing the baby.
Also that some women have had to find multiple ways to pump breast milk since each body is different and also depending on the type of insurance they have. Words such as "extracting" and "suck" make it seem more like a science experiment or something and that it can't be comfortable for a women to have to use such inadequate devices. I hope that the some of the investors will continue to fund for inventions of breast pump devices that can make the process much easier and pleasant for women.

-Terence J.

Anonymous said...

Reading this section had given me a more understanding mindset towards what I consider, the plight that many mothers may have to go through when needing to pump their breasts. Sophie Brickman states, "Women have to find a private corner, remove their shirts, and watch their nipples get rhythmically suctioned for 20 minutes until they're fully milked" (50). As a male, I hadn't ever realized that women have to follow a procedure like this for breast pumping, so reading this allowed me to gain a new perspective and understanding of mothers and breastfeeding/pumping.

-Connor W.

Nia M. said...

This article was very insightful on many different things, the first being how much the breast pump market is worth. On page 51 it mentions that the this market could possible reach $2.6 billion by 2020. I find this absolutely insane, however it makes complete since when companies are selling said improved breast pumps for $100 to nearly a thousand. What's concerning about women in business, especially in this market is how many times they were humiliated during their sales pitch. Attempting to inform a audience who are mostly composed of males the importance of a pump that would allow more comfort for women. This hard to believe, especially since they wouldn't understand how women feel about breast pumping and their opinions on how it could be improved.
-Nia M.

Peyton W said...

What caught my attention and what concerns me a lot is that many businesses do not keep in mind the needs of women. It’s stated that Delzer was fortunate enough to have a pumping room but what really concerns me is what about the women who don’t have that luxury? Every business needs to have awareness of this issue and try to find a solution to this problem. Also another thing I find concerning is that the pump that insurance companies give comes in a card box box with a dry user manual; I find that ridiculous and it shows that they don’t give a crap about the woman who needs it. I hope I’m the future these issues will be resolved and I also hope that there will be more comfortable and affordable pumps in the market like Moxxly.

Noah Jones said...

While reading this article, I started thinking about how workplaces aren't usually set up to cater to women and their children. I already knew that The United States has a short paid maternity leave time compared to other places, and we also aren't very open to women being able to show their breasts anywhere. I think that we need to move in a direction were women and their children are shown more compassion than they currently are. - Noah Jones

Evan Senat said...

I had always heard stories from my mother about what a hassle breastfeeding/pumping had been for her. As she was a single mother working in corporate America, I could see why. I can’t imagine having to excuse myself from a meeting to find a place to take my shirt off and pump the milk from my breasts. The women interviewed and mentioned in the excerpt seemed to stress the same feelings: shame and stress. I think society needs to view breastfeeding/pumping in a more positive light. It’s not women’s fault that society has sexualized our anatomy so much that people are uncomfortable with seeing new mothers tending to their babies’ needs. It’s a natural part of life that we must accept and work harder towards making it comfortable for mothers. Evan S.

Charlie B said...

Something that caught my attention regarding this article was the entire fourth paragraph on page 50. In a statement regarding how breast pumps were packaged and delivered, Delzer says "It made me feel like I was a patient, not a woman". In a later sentence in the paragraph, Delzer talks about how she would look through baby stores and only find products specifically for babies, and how there weren't any brands that appealed to the mothers as well as a baby. Personally, this had never crossed my mind. Another obstacle is the price range of breast pumps. While a few are affordable, many pumps are well above $100. Lastly, the lack of breast feeding stations in public spaces also caught my attention. Mothers of babies are more than likely not going to spend most of their time in a private place, such as their home, so it's disappointing to not have these spaces available for mothers who need them.

William Shanklin said...

I found this article very informative about the topic of breastfeeding. While I understood it was challenging for women to breastfeed in public because it is looked at like an abnormality in our society, even though it is natural, I did not know that there were tests for breastfeeding applications. I find it ridiculous that women need to go to such lengths in order to breastfeed their children. I believe that it was an important passage because I feel like more people need to be informed about the struggle women go through with breastfeeding.

Anonymous said...

What I found interesting from this article was how much work it is to breastfed and how people frown upon people who do it in public. Sophie Brickman states, "Women have to find a private corner, remove their shirts, and watch their nipples get rhythmically suctioned for 20 minutes until they're fully milked" (50). This article gives me a sense of perspective on how consuming it is for a woman to breastfeed when so many woman do it each day with what appears to be zero complaints. -Mikayla Kinnard

Ta'mya Cummings said...

What stuck out to me in this article was how the breast pumps are portrayed as unimportant. Delzer, a mother who received a breast pump from her insurance company stated "It made me feel like I was a patient, not a woman". They should consider the women when it comes to making breast pumps for them instead of just making the product because they have to. She also stated how she tried looking for breast pumps herself and none stuck out to her. It surprises me how they don't try to revamp breast pumps or make more models that would be more beneficial, considering how many women there are in the world who needs them. I liked how the women engineers took action and found a way to remodel the breast pumps for themselves. -Ta'mya C.

Quanicia Rudd said...

Something that really caught my attention from the article,"The Squeeze" was realizing how time consuming breast feeding is. Someone who has not yet experienced child birth and breast feeding would never understand how big of an obligation it is. This is probably why most businesses don't have designated places or rooms just for breast pumping. I definitely feel that breast pumping shouldn't be as big of an inconvenience as it is and if corporations considered having areas for breast pumping, it wouldn't be as big of a complication.
-Quanicia R.

Anonymous said...

This article is so relevant to todays workforce in relationship to women being mothers AND having professional occupations. I think it is such a cool thing for these two "worlds" to be able to merge- as a lot of women long for this type of lifestyle. Additionally, I admire companies for taking risks and creating new products to better the lives of women in the workforce. This article successfully shifted my view about women in business and women in engineering in a way that makes me more aware of issues that I may face in the future. This knowledge also made me aware of my ability to make buying decisions that will further benefit women-owned businesses.
Madison M.

Carah F. said...

Something that really caught my attention about this article was how impersonal some of the breast pumps are. Cara Delzer said another issue with breast pumps was packaging. The free pump her insurance gave her made her feel like a patient rather than a woman. (p. 50) This caught my attention, because the packaging caters more towards the baby rather than the mother. I never thought packaging would make such a big deal on how mothers feel on pumping.

Eboni G. said...

"I'd be in a meeting, then 30 seconds later find myself with my shirt off...still untenable" (50). The aspect from the article that really caught my attention was how despite the major inconveniences and discourtesy these women has to experience, it did not prevent them from working. To clarify, not only did they succeed but they did so with their male coworkers not truly understanding. Women in those professions are already at a disadvantage, and find themselves even mentally set back due to pumping. Though difficult, these women persevered and succeeded.

Eboni G.

Keaira C. said...

Overall after reading the article, I find it concerning that this topic of mothers not being given comfortable spaces to pump milk has not been addressed and made within the workplace yet. Seeing as to how, women do also work in the workplace, and this is a major part of motherhood and has been publicly addressed with the invention of the first mechanical breast pump in the 1920’s, this is an issue and discussion that should have been acknowledged, and resolved by now. Accommodations like pumping stations/rooms, similar to break rooms should be made for women in workplaces, because women as well as men make up the population of these business companies and corporations, and motherhood is a major part of many women’s lives.
It also caught my attention that, the CEO and co-founder of Moxxly, Cara Delzer, said that many of the pumping products when she would look for them in stores, appealed to the babies, rather than the mothers, and were marketed towards the baby, rather than mentioning the comfort and benefits for the mother that would have been provided. This is a major concern but it relieves me to know women that have experienced these issues in product and marketing strategy, have come up with something that other mothers recognizing these same issues, can have and use feeling recognized and prioritized.
-Keaira C.

Unknown said...

What caught my attention concerning women in business is the balance of work life and motherhood. These were all career women who chose to have the family life as well. This article highlights one difficulty that comes with being a corporate mother. As someone else has mentioned, many companies don't consider having sanitary rooms to accommodate nursing mothers. I love how these women took charge and accommodated themselves by crating the Moxxly Flow pump.
-Jacqui Smith.

I'Lysa Walker said...

As a woman that has not yet endured the nuisances that comes with breast pumping, I found this to be very enlightening and eye opening. While it is great that some companies take into consideration the "indignities of the pumping life" and provide privacy for mothers, it should be required for all companies take such courtesies (51). The pricing for pumps are also absurd. Seeing as the majority of mothers are in need of pumps, and they all range with different salaries, the prices of pumps should be more affordable and reasonable; however, I am aware that that would only be possible in a perfect world. The humiliation and frustration women have to endure while trying to inform an audience, mainly of men, of the importance of comfort for women is also difficult because men cannot experience the struggle that women go through when it comes to pumping.

Kendall Dow said...

This new breast pump makes it easier for moms to breastfeed publicly and is discrete. It allows to women feed without getting judgmental looks by strangers. Even though it is much more convenient than the old pumps, it is not cost friendly. It seems as though the product contradicts its purpose. The purpose is for the women to feel more comfortable during feedings yet it will be unavailable to most women due to the price. Many women will have to continue to use bonvine-esque milkers. Since convenience is the only thing you are really paying for(it may last longer then others but you will only use for a certain amount of time), the convenience is simply not worth the price.
-Kendall Dow

Keaira C. said...

Overall after reading the article, I find it concerning that this topic of mothers not being given comfortable spaces to pump milk has not been addressed and made within the workplace yet. Seeing as to how, women do also work in the workplace, and this is a major part of motherhood and has been publicly addressed with the invention of the first mechanical breast pump in the 1920’s, this is an issue and discussion that should have been acknowledged, and resolved by now. Accommodations like pumping stations/rooms, similar to break rooms should be made for women in workplaces, because women as well as men make up the population of these business companies and corporations, and motherhood is a major part of many women’s lives.

It also caught my attention that, the CEO and co-founder of Moxxly, Cara Delzer, said that many of the pumping products when she would look for them in stores, appealed to the babies, rather than the mothers, and were marketed towards the baby, rather than mentioning the comfort and benefits for the mother that would have been provided. This is a major concern but it relieves me to know women that have experienced these issues in product and marketing strategy, have come up with something that other mothers recognizing these same issues, can have and use feeling recognized and prioritized.
-Keaira C (2nd Post just in case the first post failed to appear)

Shamon said...

This chapter made me look at women differently. As a man, I did not know that this was a thing that women do. It usually takes 20 or more hours and costs around $100-$1000. Allowing men to understand this process will keep men informed and would comfort women.
-Shamon S

Jeremiah Johnson said...

What is concerning to me about this article from a business standpoint is the fact that it is difficult for the Moxxly to receive funding due to the fact that many companies have relationships with other large pump providers. This reminds me oh how pharmaceutical and insurance companies have a large monopoly over the united states citizens. Many medical companies can choose to only use one product and do things such as over price the item, and people must buy the item for their own well-being. That is why new products such as the Moxxly and medical items have a really rough road ahead of them to be consumed by the mass market in the U.S.

Jeremiah Johnson said...

What is concerning to me about this article from a business standpoint is the fact that it is difficult for the Moxxly to receive funding due to the fact that many companies have relationships with other large pump providers. This reminds me oh how pharmaceutical and insurance companies have a large monopoly over the united states citizens. Many medical companies can choose to only use one product and do things such as over price the item, and people must buy the item for their own well-being. That is why new products such as the Moxxly and medical items have a really rough road ahead of them to be consumed by the mass market in the U.S.

Torian henry said...

This reading really opened my eyes to a lot of new information that I was not privy to prior to reading this article. I didn't know much about how this market in particular worked but this article really shinned light on a lot of different factors of it. I think informing as many individuals as possible would be very effective because the more support there is from males and females, the more likely something effective would be done. Which is very disappointing, that women have to advocate much harder for things that should be common courtesy, but I am hopeful there will be change in the near future.

Jacolby Galvain said...

What surprised me the most about this article was when it states,"According to Transparency Market Research, the breast pump market is set to reach $2.6 billion worldwide by 2020". This intrigued me due myself not knowing the magnitude of the Breast Pumps influence and use because I wouldn't initially believe that women are this engaged in this somewhat artificial technique, personally I was under the impression that women would keep things of that nature private, but upon reading this article I realized that the breast Pump is actually a good aid to women find breast feeding as a struggle.- Jacollby G.