Michael Cunningham, a Seattle doctor who heads craniofacial medicine at the Seattle Children’s hospital, invented a feeding cup that has the potential to save the lives of 7.6 million preterm infants worldwide. The Neonatal Intuitive Feeding Technology, or NIFTY cup, allows babies who struggle with breastfeeding to feed properly, reducing starvation.
Cunningham developed the idea after witnessing children with special needs suffer from malnutrition due to the inability to feed properly. The NIFTY cup was developed and designed through a collaboration between the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s hospital, PATH, and Laerdal Global Health.
The cup is designed to make the process of feeding easier for preterm babies. Mothers squeeze breast milk into the cup which has a reservoir and flow channel technology that allows the babies to sip milk at their own pace. The NIFTY cup technology allows optimal milk intake and decreases spillage.
The project recently won a $250,000 award to fund further research and development. The product will be delivered to hospital workers in Africa later this year and placed on the market at the cost of $1 per cup.