School of Public Health

SPH Alumna Develops New Feeding Cup for Infants with Breastfeeding Difficulties

UW Epi News
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Alumna Christy McKinney (PhD, Epidemiology ’06) spearheaded the development of a new feeding cup for preterm infants and newborns with cleft palates – infants who commonly have breastfeeding difficulties.

Christy McKinney (right)

Working with Seattle-based PATH and Seattle Children’s Hospital Craniofacial Center, McKinney, now a clinical assistant professor of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington, developed a low-cost cup with a tiny reservoir that allows infants to feed at their own pace.

“If they’re born below 35 weeks of age, they don’t have a developed suck-swallow breath mechanism and they don’t have the maturity to successfully breastfeed,” McKinney told KING 5 News. “They need a tool to help them transition from feeding without the breast to feed with the breast.”

photo courtesy of PATH
NIFTY™ cup

The Neonatal Intuitive Feeding Technology, or NIFTY™ cup, recently received a Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge award to conduct validation tests and develop a business strategy.

McKinney led initial user tests at Sri Ramachandra University in South India with collaborators Drs. Umamaheswari B and Jyotsna Murthy.