Founder & CEO of The Natural Nipple
Founder, Lauren Wright, is a 27-year-old Nurse Practitioner obtaining her PhD at the University of South Florida. While studying the gut microbiome of preterm infants, she found that babies that weren’t getting mother’s milk were suffering fatal complications. This fueled her desire to create a solution that promotes prolonged breastfeeding and thus she patented the FIRST BOTTLE NIPPLE MODELED AFTER MOM’S “NIPPLE TYPES”, designed to PROMOTE PROLONGED BREASTFEEDING.
Q. What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
A. Growing up with limited access to health care, I became passionate and driven to optimize wellness in the global underserved community by integrating preventative primary health care and research. To do this, I was simultaneously pursuing my nurse practitioner degree in order to stay in touch with the patient needs and working on my PhD in hopes of generating research and protocols that shaped healthcare. Getting into the real clinical world was a crude shock. I was in my clinical rounds and already frustrated about the limited impact I was making in primary care when typically you are reimbursed to spend 15 minutes with a patient and couldn’t possibly holistically get to the root of their problem in that time frame.
While studying the gut microbiome of preterm infants, I discovered that babies that weren’t getting mother’s milk were suffering fatal complications. I became fascinated by breastmilk as the most preventive, dynamic, biological substance that has enabled us to evolve as mammals by providing the very first ‘life vaccine’. This fueled my desire to create a solution that promotes prolonged breastfeeding and that’s how The Natural Nipple was born.
Q. Where do you see your company headed next?
A. Our patent covers creating any product from breast shape and flow rate and can be used for licensing an array of breastfeeding products, so that will be a direction we pursue so moms have better fitting nursing bras, pump flanges, and nipple shields that reduce pain in moms. Babies would also benefit from more breast-like pacifiers and sippy cups!
In terms of our product development, we are working Integrating technology into the bottle allowing the consumer to select the best fitting breastfeeding products for them. Additionally, by Using NanoTechnology sensors and a flow rate controller, we can provide for safer feedings and close monitoring of the baby by mother or caregiver.
Q. Give us a tactical piece of advice that you’d share with another founder just starting out.
A. My personal journey has been really unconventional and filled with so many pivots, and everyone’s blueprint to the life they have always dreamed of is going to look different. Keeping that in mind frees me from the tendency to take other people’s opinions to heart or compare myself to another’s construct of success- which is so easy to do when humans are wired for connectivity. People think it’s crazy that I barely make enough to live off of at the moment and compromise my lifestyle for a complete risk when a cushy 100k clinical salary is an option. I never thought after being 10 years in and a semester away from ‘Dr. Wright’ I would consider putting graduating on hold to be a dedicated founder. But when I get real with myself about what elicits the sensation of joy in my life and act for the action itself- not the outcome, I know I’m where I need to be. My advice: never, ever forget that you have something to bring into this world that absolutely no one else can. No one has your exact experiences that shape your perception and genetic expression to be able to take your ideas and transform them into matter.
To learn more about this exciting Tampa Bay startup, visit Embarc Collective.