Women's boutique jumps into pump manufacturing
LONGVIEW, Texas – When provider Vicki Jones couldn’t offer an expensive breast pump that her customers wanted without losing money on each transaction, she decided to design her own.
The “WHBaby…for Mommy and Me” breast pump has all the bells and whistles of a $300 pump—for $199, said Jones, owner of the Women’s Health Boutique, who does 60 to 70 pumps per month.
“I wanted to design it to be good for the baby, but also for the mother,” she said. “If it’s good for the mother, it’s going to be good for the baby.”
While the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to pay for breast pumps, the reimbursement on the pumps can be very poor. The insurance allowables for the pump range from $119 to $152.
The WHBaby includes a battery pack, storage bag, and large and small-mouth bottle adapters.
“There are those little things you think, ‘Oh, that’s not that big of a deal,’ but when you’ve got a newborn baby, doing that many bottles a day, it’s a huge deal,” said Jones.
Her daughter, who has a seven-month-old baby, served as her chief tester.
“We wanted to make sure, ‘Yes, we want to do this,’ or ‘No, that’s not as good,’” said Jones. “The new moms have loved it throughout the process.”
Jones said the process—from finding a manufacturer in China to getting FDA approval—took two years. At press time, she was waiting to receive her first shipment, which she plans to roll out locally before deciding whether to also offer them through her website.
Jones expects the WHB name on the pump will prove a strong selling point.
“If we have a physician or lactation consultant that knows us and trusts us, we can say we worked for two years to find this pump,” said Jones. “It has everything that your new moms need, including more power.” hme