Lauren Wright, PhD(c), AGNP-BC
Founder and CEO
Lauren is a nurse practitioner and PhD candidate at the University of South Florida.
While studying the gut micro biome of preterm infants, I discovered that babies who weren't being given breast milk were suffering fatal complications. I wanted to find a solution that would give all babies the ability to have breast milk, and support prolonged breastfeeding.
By designing a bottle that offers seamless continuity between breast and bottle feeding, we hope to empower moms to breastfeed, promote mother-baby bonding and improve wellness for moms and babies around the world.
Tram Pham, RN
Co-Founder and COO
Tram is a registered nurse and Doctorate of Nursing Practice candidate at the University of South Florida.
While rotating through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) during my undergraduate studies, I saw the difficulties moms face when trying to get their babies to latch on to the breast after feeding from a standard bottle nipple in the NICU: an effect called nipple confusion.
Our goal with The Natural Nipple is to eliminate nipple confusion and empower moms who are feeling helpless and stressed when trying to breastfeed their children.
Lauren Wright and Tram Pham aren’t mothers.
But in The Natural Nipple, a startup that aims to improve the way newborn babies are fed, they might be the next-best thing: whip-smart nurse practitioners.
They are also rookie businesswomen, using passion and guile to get their product from the "people thinks it's an awesome idea" stage to a solution in mothers hands.
Wright, 28, is the CEO. She’s also pursuing a Ph.D. in psychoneuroimmunology at the University of South Florida and expects to graduate in spring 2020.
In that capacity, she’s found that the health and development of infants can greatly benefit from extended consumption of mothers’ breast milk. Yet, in tracking a well-known issue, she's also found that many bottles on the market fail to deliver a nipple shape and flow rate that can match those of babies’ moms, resulting in a phenomenon called “nipple confusion.” That, in turn, can make it difficult for babies to properly “latch” onto a nipple, leading to serious problems like anxiety and depression in moms and malnutrition in infants, particularly preemies.
Wright saw a potentially lucrative opportunity to prevent such problems. Along with Pham, 25, the company’s COO who works at Tampa General Hospital and is studying at USF to be a doctorally trained nurse practitioner, she created a collection of baby bottle prototypes with a variety of nipple shapes and sizes. The products recently won first place and $10,000 in the Florida Blue Statewide Heath Care Innovation Pitch Competition in Orlando."
- Brian Hartz, Business Observer
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