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You Can Stop Throwing Out Half-Used Bottles of Breast Milk

Photograph by Getty Images/EyeEm

A new product on the market for parents could to help caretakers waste less of the "liquid gold" that lactating moms work so hard to collect and store. Anyone who has ever felt the anguish of dumping a bottle of half-consumed breastmilk down the sink may want to check out the aLoo valve.

The new invention aims to be a barrier between breast milk and a bottle nipple, allowing the milk to flow to the baby while stopping any back flow. This prevents bacteria from the baby's mouth from getting back into the milk, which is the whole reason caretakers are told to dump any unused milk after a feeding.

All of which means that, hopefully, more pumped breast milk (or formula) can be safely saved for later.

The makers of aLoo say that the amount of bacteria washed back into milk can double in as little as 20 minutes. With the aid of the valve, the bacteria never makes it to the milk. So as long as the nipple and valve are kept clean between feedings, baby is safe to stop even after just a few pulls.

So how does it work? The aLoo valve fastens directly onto the cap/nipple portion of a bottle and, once it's on, is ready to be used as any bottle would. The product is so simple that the company boasts even a 2-year-old can use it (there's video proof for evidence):

According to Dr. Aarti Mehta, co-founder of aLoo, the valve blocks 99.6 percent of backwash that could potentially contaminate the bottle of breast milk. In a blog for the company, she said she had been inspired to create this product after struggling to produce enough milk to breastfeed her now 3-year-old daughter.

"Of the limited breast milk I made, once my daughter took a sip from the bottle, the bacteria from her saliva contaminated the milk," she wrote. "Whatever she didn’t finish would need to be thrown away in 4 to 6 hours. That was SO MUCH WASTE!"

Like a lot of mothers who struggle with breastfeeding, Dr. Mehta, who specializes in Women's Mental Health, said she felt guilty for not making enough breast milk and then wasting any drop of what she did produce. The product she came up with to try to cut down on breast milk waste was so directly related to her own experience, in fact, that it's even named after her daughter, Ariadna, whose nickname was "Aloo," which means potato in Hindi.

The product is patent-pending, BPA-free and is dishwasher safe for up to 12 months. After going through the fundraising stage on Kickstarter, the aLoo surpassed its $15k goal, raising a total of $21k in just a month.

You can currently pre-order the aLoo valve for $12.99 on the product's website and choose a size of valve that will fit a Philips Avent, Dr. Browns, Tommee Tippee, Medela, Playtex Baby, or Boob by Joovy bottle. The product is estimated to be shipped out by November 2017.

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