BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a maternity bra for use in connection with pumping breast milk. The maternity bra has particular utility in connection with easily pumping breast milk while the maternity bra is being worn by the mother.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Maternity bras are desirable for meeting the special needs of lactating mothers.
The use of different maternity bras is known in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,213,840 to Han discloses a hands-free breast pump support bra and system using a highly elastic material. However, the Han '840 patent does not include a padded area structure as advantageously found in the present invention, and has further drawbacks of requiring highly elastic material.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,768 to Lockridge et al. discloses a device and kit for supporting a breast shield and related pump equipment that uses a mounting element of elastic bands and loops for providing support. However, the '768 patent does not include a slot and padded area structure, as utilized in the present invention.
Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,514,166 to Silver et al. discloses a different device and method for supporting a breast shield and related pump equipment that implements straps and a bulky flap structure that is very different from the slot and padded area of the present invention.
Furthermore, U.S. Pat. No. 6,247,996 to Fields discloses a breast milk pump support harness that includes detachable milk pump support assemblies that are also very different from the elegant slot and padded area solution of the present invention.
Lastly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,004,186 to Penny discloses an apparatus for securing suction devices to a nursing mother's breasts. However, the Penny '186 patent is a halter top, and not a maternity bra. It also has the additional deficiency of using round openings rather than slots.
While the above-described devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the aforementioned patents do not describe a maternity bra that allows breast milk to be pumped conveniently and easily in a hand-free manner by the mother while experiencing the comfort of a padded area as in the present invention.
Therefore, a need exists for a new and improved maternity bra that can be used for hands-free use of a breast pump. In this regard, the present invention substantially fulfills this need. In this respect, the maternity bra according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in doing so provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of improved comfort and convenience of breast pumping for lactating mothers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of other maternity bras now present in the prior art, the present invention provides an improved maternity bra, and overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and drawbacks of the prior art. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new and improved maternity bra and method which has all the advantages of the prior art mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a maternity bra which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by the prior art, either alone or in any combination thereof.
To attain this, the present invention essentially comprises a kit for a system for pumping breast milk that includes a pump funnel adapted for use in pumping breast milk and a bra. The bra has a slot in the approximate center of each breast section and a padded area surrounding each slot. Each slot is adapted to provide access for the breast pump funnel, and each padded area is adapted to provide extra support for the pump funnel while engaged.
Additionally, the invention encompasses a bra for use while pumping breast milk including a slot in the approximate center of each breast section and a padded area surrounding each slot. Each slot is adapted to provide access for the breast pump funnel, and each padded area is adapted to provide extra support for the pump funnel while engaged.
Finally, also included is a method of pumping breast milk that includes the steps of wearing a bra having a slot in the approximate center of each breast section and a padded area surrounding each slot, such that each slot is adapted to provide access for the breast pump funnel and each padded area is adapted to provide extra support for the pump funnel while engaged; inserting a pump funnel through the slot, wherein the pump funnel is adapted for pumping breast milk; and pumping breast milk through the funnel.
There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated.
There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims attached.
Numerous objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description of presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative, embodiments of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. In this respect, before explaining the current embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of descriptions and should not be regarded as limiting.
As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved maternity bra that has all of the advantages of the prior art other maternity bras and breast pump supports and none of the disadvantages.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved maternity bra that may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.
An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved maternity bra that has a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such maternity bra economically available to the buying public.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new maternity bra that provides in the apparatuses and methods of the prior art some of the advantages thereof, while simultaneously overcoming some of the disadvantages normally associated therewith.
These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.