Hello Everyone! We had a special opportunity to interview Aarti Mehta MD, Co-Founder of aLoo. aLoo is a device that blocks 99.6% of backwash from contaminating a baby's bottle of precious breast milk. Aarti, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! I am so honored to be interviewed for your blog! So, to get right to it...during the day, I am a Psychiatrist specializing in Women’s Mental Health, particularly post-partum depression and anxiety. But most importantly, I am a Mom. My daughter, Ariadna (Ari), is almost 3 years old. Ari was the inspiration behind my product because I struggled to produce enough milk when I was breastfeeding her.
I faced TWO major issues:
Problem 1: I had trouble making enough breast milk from the start. Then, I returned to work and had even LESS milk production. I felt a lot of guilt, frustration and had feelings of inadequacy as a mother.
Problem 2: Of the limited breast milk I made, once my daughter took a sip from the bottle, the bacteria from her saliva contaminated the milk. Whatever she didn’t finish would need to be thrown away in 4-6 hours. That was SO MUCH WASTE!
The Question: Why isn’t there something available that simply blocks the backwash from contaminating the whole bottle? A barrier to keep the backwash in one part of the bottle, separate from the full contents of the bottle would decrease waste significantly.
The Solution: aLoo. A simple, patent-pending, easy to use device that blocks 99.6% of backwash from contaminating the bottle. So, if you are going to re-use the bottle later, at least you aren’t feeding your baby added bacteria that didn’t need to be there in the first place.
What inspired you to create aLoo?
I was inspired to create aLoo because I knew that if I was feeling as guilty and frustrated with myself for not producing enough breast milk, and then having to waste it, many other mothers must be feeling this way too.
I imagine there is a story behind the name?
Yes! The inspiration for the name comes, of course, from my daughter. Her name, Ariadna, ends up being shortened to “Ari” quite often. In India, where our parents are from, nicknames for kids or terms of endearment often end in “u,” so, we started calling her “Aru”. And then, because she was round and brown like a potato, we started calling her “Aloo”, which means potato in Hindi.
What makes aLoo unique?
aLoo is unique because there is nothing out on the market that specifically blocks backwash from contaminating the contents of a bottle. There are solutions for colic, sterilization, nipple confusion, but nothing to protect precious liquid-gold breast milk from being unnecessarily contaminated by saliva, which carries hundreds of millions of bacteria.
Can aLoo be used with any bottle?
I quickly learned that there are so many innovative bottles on the market and parents/babies have their favorite brand. Knowing that there are challenges transitioning from breast to bottle, we did not want to exclude anyone merely because of bottle brand loyalty. Our initial goal is to make the device compatible across multiple bottle brands. Currently, our device is compatible with Philips Avent and we are planning to create more sizes that will work well with other brands (Dr. Brown’s, Medela, Tommee Tippee and Playtex) soon.
When does aLoo officially launch?
We are launching a Kickstarter campaign on June 5, 2017, which will help us bring aLoo to market. We hope to have a product ready to ship by fall of 2017. Please join our email list to learn more and stay updated on our progress!
Aarti Mehta MD is a Mother, Psychiatrist and Entrepreneur currently residing in Chicago, Illinois. For more information on aLoo, please visit www.myaloo.com.