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MedTech innovation bringing breastfeeding benefits to more mothers and children.

Photo of Lactomo founder, Etta Watts-Russell with her new mentor, Ann Damien from Cook Medical at Sydney Rapid Fire Rounds, 2019.

20 NOVEMBER 2019

Driven to make breastfeeding easier and deliver health benefits to mothers and children, Etta Watts-Russell set to work creating a lactation aid that addresses all of the key problems associated with breastfeeding.

As a mother of four children, entrepreneur Etta experienced first-hand how difficult breastfeeding could be. Assuming that it would be innately easy, like a reflex, she felt like a failure when it wasn’t. But Etta discovered that she wasn’t alone – her experience was in fact shared by women around the world.

Conclusive evidence tells us that breastmilk is the best nutrition that you can offer a newborn. Yet the World Health Organisation reports that babies and mothers worldwide are being failed by lack of investment in breastfeeding. UNICEF backs this up, with their recent finding that no country in the world meets the recommended breastfeeding standards.

Breastmilk contains nutrients that babies need for growth and development and protects them against infections and diseases, while women who breastfeed have lower rates of breast cancer, osteoporosis and type-2 diabetes.

Lactamo is gaining rapid traction to bring these positive impacts to mothers, children, their families and communities around the world.

“Regardless of a mother’s socioeconomic status, breastfeeding and the problems experienced are common ground,” says Etta.

“Given the importance of breastfeeding, it’s Lactamo’s aim to give mothers the best possible success in breastfeeding, together with the best experience in doing so.”

Etta explains that Lactamo is designed specifically for breast tissue, and has the ability to:

  • significantly increase the quality of breast milk (in particular the fat content)
  • stimulate milk production and flow, and aid the let-down reflex
  • help clear blocked ducts
  • help relieve swelling and pain
  • help fight off infection. 

The road to bringing a new medical or health technology to life is filled with challenges for every entrepreneur.

For Etta, challenges so far have included intellectual property, vetting manufacturers and forging a path to market.

“It’s an exciting journey, but also one that needs to be done properly, in the right order and with expert knowledge and guidance,” says Etta.

Etta is preparing to compete in the upcoming MedTech’s Got Talent Challenge Gala Finals – Australia’s largest HealthTech entrepreneurship competition – for a share in $50,000 and fast-tracked entry to the MedTech Actuator’s Accelerator program.

Etta’s new mentor, Ann Damien from Cook Medical is working closely with her to help shine on health innovation’s night of nights.

Etta says that MedTech is a niche area and recommends that emerging entrepreneurs surround themselves with as many MedTech contacts, mentors and accelerators right from the beginning.

“It has been a very steep learning curve for me, and I couldn’t have done it without the wisdom and support of mentors like Ann, peers and advisors,” says Etta.

“The MedTech Actuator has propelled Lactamo, accelerating my progress exponentially. Not only have they given Lactamo the best platform for success, but they have made my journey with the product so enjoyable too.”

Want to see Etta pitch at the Gala Finals? Book your tickets today!

Thank you to our major Challenge partners and sponsors – we couldn’t do this without you: The Federal Government, The Department of Industry, Innovation & Science; The Victorian Government, The Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions; Global Victoria; LaunchVic; Government of Karnataka; Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre; Johnson & Johnson; Cook Medical; Medtronic; K&L Gates; Vestech; IDE Group; Design + Industry; Tricycle Developments; Ingenuity Electronics Design; Outerspace Design; MiniFAB; LEAP Australia and Wave Digital.

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