Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering


Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Gretchen A. Macht


Mothers can experience breastfeeding challenges, and the breast pump is often at the center. Existing literature outlines the range of mothers’ negative experiences with breast pumps, though there is a gap in which breast pump characteristics are important to mothers. Identifying which breast pump characteristics (i.e., portability, ease of use, low-weight, fast milk extraction, comfortability, low-noise, discreet) are important to breast pumping mothers, and whether or not this importance varies between mothers who do or do not work outside of the home will help identify user needs. Collecting user needs informs future breast pump designs in a user-centered design process. A survey collected information on mothers’ experiences with breast pumps and which breast pump characteristics mothers considered important. Summary statistics were analyzed for mothers who did and did not work outside the home, and Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to determine whether there were possible groupings between the importance of these characteristics. Summary statistics indicated that mothers considered all seven breast pump characteristics important except for discreet. The only characteristic found as statistically significantly different between mothers of different work statuses was portability. LCA identified a twoclass model with mothers’ age as a significant covariate. Mothers’ work status was not a significant covariate but did predict class membership when considered as a grouping variable in conjunction with mothers’ age. Breast pumping mothers’ needs differ beyond their work status, and collecting and considering these different needs is vital to creating redesigns that improve mothers’ breast pumping experience.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.