Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Systems Engineering

Department

Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Gretchen A. Macht

Abstract

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.

Available for download on Thursday, October 17, 2019

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