US 3790017 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 1111 3,790,017 Fitzpatrick et al. Feb. 5, 1974 NURSING UNIT 3,075,666 1/1963 Hoffstein 215/11 E 3 4 72 1 1 William Fitzpatrick. Wyckoff; filial? i113 i352, 51326? Robert B. Cubitt, Ramsey, both of NJ. Primary Examiner-Ge0rge T. Hall  Asslgnee' g v r t Corporation Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Stewart J. Fried; Jeffrey A.
ew or Schwab; Michael A. Caputo 22 Filed:' Aug. 8, 1972 211 Appl. No.: 278,856
 ABSTRACT  US. Cl 215/11 E, 215/46 A nursing unit is disclosed including a holder, a liquid  III". Cl. A611 9/04 retention Sac and a nipple wherein the holder is  held of Search 215/11 11 46 R vided with a discontinuous annular shoulder, which substantially reduces the possibility of accidental'or  References C'ted I inadvertent nipple removal.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,204,855 9/1965 Boynton et a1 215/11 E 12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures y l 46 44 I ,3
50 2o I l l l 36 58 50 t 22 i .;l I! 61 30 ll 1 66 62 68 5 /2 a}- 30 1 NURSING UNIT This invention relates to nursing bottles or holders of the type used as primary supports in nursing systems employing collapsible liquid-retaining sacs. More particularly, the invention relates to a nursing holder including means to prevent accidental removal of the nipple by a nursing baby and yet which is constructed in a manner such that deliberate removal of the nipple, when desired by the parent, is facilitated;
Nursing bottle arrangements of the general type described herein are known and typically comprise a ho]- low nursing holder adapted at one end to receive a collapsible liquid-retaining sac and a nipple. One of the most well known and widely used nursing arrangements of this type is that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,075,666 to Hoffstein. That patent shows a generally cylindrical nursing holder having an annular groove at one end which defines on one side a peripheral rim extending from the holder at substantially a right angle and, on the opposite side, a shoulder on the main body portion of the holder. A collapsible liquid-retaining sac is provided within the holder and has its open end turned back and downwardly over the peripheral rim of the holder. A nursing nipple is also provided and has a configuration wherein a breastlike portion terminates in a ridge which extends outwardly in the form of a flange having a dependent skirt. An annular groove is formed in the inner surface of the. dependent skirt and is adapted to engage the peripheral rim of the nursing holder with the portion of the skirt below the groove seated within the annular groove of the holder. Positioning a collapsible sac on the holder causes the open end of the sac to stretch over the peripheral rim of the holder and resiliently engage the surface of the annular groove of the holder. Capping the nursing holder with the nipple locks the open end of the collapsible sac between the holder and the nipple, along the entire interface between the skirt of the nipple and the nursing holder, thereby preventing the sac from pulling loose of the holder during use. While the nursing arrangement referred to above and described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 3,075,666 has met with great commercial success, it may be subject to certain disadvantages in use. Among these is the possibility of accidental or inadvertent unseating of the nipple from the holder with resultant spillage of the contents of the collapsible sac.
The convenience afforded by a nipple which snaps over a holder, rather than one employing a rigid sup- 7 ple onto the holder and also that the edge be accessible while positioned on the holder to permit removal when desired.'lt is this accessibility of the edge of the nipple which is the prime cause of accidental or inadvertent unseating of the nipple.
The desire to prevent accidental dislodgement of the nipple by a nursing baby and yet to permit easy removal by a parent, when desired, has led to a number of proposed solutions to the problem, which involve either positioning a retainer ring over the skirt of the nipple or in some way making the. edge of the nipple less accessible.
The first solution is undesirable, since it involves-the use of a separate piece of apparatus which will not usually be necessary for use with young infants and will only be required with some older babies and then only for intermittent periods; 7
The second proposed solution, which involves making a portion of the end of the nipple inaccessible, is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,075,666 mentioned above. As shown therein, a shoulder is formed continuously around the circumference of the nursing holder at a distance from the end of the holder slightly greater than the length of the skirt of the nipple. When the nipple is positioned on the holder, its edge rests proximate to the shoulder, which thereby advantageously serves as a guide for correctly positioning the nipple. The shoulder extends laterally adjacent to the edge of the nipple, a distance less than the thickness of the edge. In this way, part of the edge of the nipple is masked and made inaccessible, while part extends above the furthest extent of the shoulder and can be grasped or pushed with the thumb for removal.
This last solution works in principle, but inherently combines advantage and disadvantage. If too little of the nipple is masked, removal of the nipple is facilitated both when desired and through inadvertence or accident. If too much of the nipple is masked, the possibility of accidental removal is virtually eliminated, but removal of the nipple for cleaning and re-use is made difficult if not impossible. One attempt to arrive at a compromise in the amount of nipple extending beyond a shoulder located on a nursing bottle is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,733,184 to Decker, which deals with a conventional wide-mouth bottle-nipple arrangement. A bead or stop is there provided which continuously encircles the bottle at a point proximate to but just below the end of the nipple. This construction is, however, also subject to the disadvantages recitedabove, since, if the rib or stop is of a projection equal to or greater than that of the edge of the nipple, it will be difficult to grasp the nipple for removal. As shown in the drawings of U.S. Pat. No. 1,733,184, the nipple is allowed to project a short distance beyond the furthest projection of the bead or stop, thus making part of the nipple accessible. This undesirable detail of construction is necessary to permit removal of the nipple, when desired. In addition to the problems associated with nipple removal, improvements have also been sought in the manner of positioning sacs on the nursing holder. The nursing bottle of U.S. Pat. No. 3,075,666 is advantageously used in conjunction with an assembly tool (such as is the subject of U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,900,779 and 3,672,122) to position the top of the collapsible liquidretaining sac downwardly and over the holder. The use of such a tool assures uniform positioning of the bottle on the holder and'assists in obtaining a tight, smooth seal against the rim of the nursing holder. Liquidretaining sacs have also been proposed which are of a configuration such that positioning on a nursing holder can be accomplished without the use of a mechanical device. These sacs, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,204,855, designed for manual insertion without an assembly tool, generally include tabs extending from the top of the sac, which, after the sac is inserted within the holder, are grasped in both hands and pulled back outwardly down and over the rim of the nursing holder. Such sacs, while possibly having the advantage of obviating use of an assembly tool, usually result in a completed bottle assembly which has tabs extending out .from beneath the edge of the nipple. Such an a's-' sembly is unsightly, causes a bunching of the bag material which may promote seepage of liquid under the nipple, and offers the baby tabs which, if pulled, may unseat the nipple and spill the bottle contents. In addition, the tabs could present a possible danger to a child, who might bite off pieces of the extending tab material and ingest or inhale same.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a nursing holder of the type used as a primary support in nursing systems employing collapsible liquid-retaining sacs wherein the possibility of accidental or inadvertent removal of the nipple is substantially reduced.
It is a further object of the invention to provide such a nursing holder which, when used with collapsible liquid-retaining sacs having tabs extending from their open end, provides a cutting edge which facilitates removal of the tabs after insertion of the collapsible sac within the nursing holder.
These and other objects are accomplished in a nursing arrangement comprising a nursing holder, a collapsible liquid-retention sac, and a nipple wherein the nursing holder is generally elongated in shape, hollow, has an open, nipple-receiving end, and includes an annular groove proximate to said end and defining a peripheral, nipple-holding rim on the side of said groove closest to said end and a discontinuous abutment or shoulder on the opposite side of said groove. The abutment extends from the groove a lateral distance at least equal to the thickness of the portion of the nipple which abuts thereon.
The invention will be more completely described with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan front view of a nursing holder in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a partially sectioned plan front view of the holder of FIG. 1, showing a nipple and collapsible, liquid-retaining sac positioned thereon;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the manner in which a collapsible sac with tabs may be manually positioned on the holder of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the position of the tab-type collapsible sac after proper application to the holder.
Referring in detail to the drawings and, in particular, to FIG. 1, there is shown a nursing holder generally designated 10, which comprises a substantially tubular member or body portion 12 having a flared skirt portion 14, and terminating in bottom and top openings 16 and 18, respectively. The nursing holder is of the general type used in conjunction with a collapsible liqmid-retaining sac' and a breast-type nipple, both of which will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
Longitudinally positioned, elongated slots or apertures 32 are provided in the side of the holder 10 adjacent to calibrated markings or other indicia 34 which may be used as a guide to indicate the amount of liquid remaining in the holder 10.
The top marginal edge of the holder 10 has a rim 20 which extends laterally and radially therefrom. The outer surface of the top of the holder 10 contains a substantially annular groove 22, which has a substantially cylindrical surface 24. The groove 22 is defined axially by upper and lower substantially right angle shoulders 26 and 28, respectively. The upper right angle shoulder 26 is the lower radially extending surface of the rim 20 at the top opening 18 of the holder 10. The lower right angle shoulder 28 forms a contiguous part of an annular rim 30.
The tubular holder 10 is of the type adapted to hold a collapsible bottle or container 36 as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 4, and 5. The collapsible bottle or container 36 is secured to the tubular member or body portion 12 of the nursing holder 10 from its top edge 18. An open marginal edge 38 of the collapsible bottle is turned outwardly and downwardly over the'rim 20, thereby engaging the cylindrical surface 24 of the annular groove 22. After a suitable liquid for the feeding of the baby has been placed in the collapsible bottle or container, a nipple 40 is fitted over the top opening 18 of the tubular member or body portion 12 of the nursing holder 10.
As shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the nipple 40 has a teat-like protuberance 42 terminating in an areola portion 44. The areola portion 44 is connected to a breastlike portion 46 which terminates in an outwardly extending ridge 48. A dependent skirt 50 projects downwardly from the ridge 48 and contains in its inner surface an inner annular groove 52 adapted to engage the rim 20 at the top opening 18 of the holder 10. The dependent skirt 50 of the nipple 40 is of an appropriate width and depth such that the bottom portion thereof mates with the annular groove 22 of the holder 10. The dependent skirt 50 can be turned outwardly and upwardly through the hinging action provided by the groove 52. As previously described, the marginal edge 38 of the collapsible bottle or container 36 extends over the rim 20 of the nursing holder 10 and onto the cylindrical surface 24 of the annular groove 22 of the holder. It is the combination of the tight fit of the collapsible bottle over the rim and into the annular groove of the holder and the mating between the inner annular groove and skirt of the nipple with the rim and annular groove of the holder which locks the collapsible bottle in place during use and seals the entire open end of the bottle against leakage.
The collapsible bottle or container 36 may be of the type which is applied or secured to a nursing holder by mechanical means such as an expander (not shown), or it may be of the type (see FIGS. 4 and 5) wherein tabs 54 and 56 extend from the open marginal edge 38 of the bottle to facilitate positioning of the bottle on a nursing holder by hand and without mechanical assistance.
The annular rim 30 of the nursing holder has its surface which is adjacent to the lowermost seating point of the nipple 40 extending laterally outward, presenting a radial planar surface 58. In the embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, the lower surface 60 of the annular rim 30 extends at an acute angle from its circumferential bearing edge 61 to the tubular member or body portion 12 of the nursing holder.
It is essential that the annular rim 30 contain at least one discontinuity 62 to expose at least a portion of the edge of the skirt 50 of the nipple 40. The discontinuity is of sufficient width to permit a portion of ones finger, such as the tip of the thumb, to engage the edge of the skirt of the nipple and unseat the nipple from the annular groove 22 of the holder. The circumferential ends 66 and 68 (FIG. 1) of the rim 30, which define the extent of the discontinuity 62, may be provided with curved surfaces to act as a guide for the finger used to unseat the nipple.
It is contemplated (see FIG. 3) that the radial thickness X of the edge of the skirt of the nipple will be less than the lateral extent Y of the radial planar surface 58 of the annularrim 30 but will be greater than the depth Z of the annular groove 22 of the holder at the point where the discontinuity in the annular rim 30 is pres ent. Hence, the annular rim 30 or shoulder of the holder will extend beyond the furthest lateral extent of the skirt of the nipple around the entire circumference of the holder except at an area of discontinuity where only a part of the edge of the skirt will be masked, ex-
posing a sufficient portion of the edge to permit a finger to engage same and dislodge the nipple from the end of the holder.
In a typical construction where the radial thickness X of the edge of the skirt of the nipple is approximately 0.15 inch, the depth Z of the annular groove 22 of the holder at the discontinuity in the annular rim could be about 0.05 inch and the lateral extent Y of the radial planar surface 58 of the annular rim 30 could be about 0.25 inch. The annular rim would thereby extend laterally about O.l inch beyond the furthest lateral extent of the nipple making the edge of the nipple inaccessible except at the discontinuity in the rim where 0.1 inch of the edge of the nipple would be exposed.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 4 and S, the open marginal edge 38 of the collapsible bottle is provided with hand-graspable tabs 54 and 56, which are provided with perforations or lines of weakness 70 at the point where the tabs 54 and 56 join the main body portion of the collapsible bottle or container In use, the collapsible bottle or container 36 is positioned within the tubular member or body portion 12 of the nursing holder 10, with the open marginal edge 38 of the bottle extending a short distance above the opening 18 of the holder. Tabs 54 and 56 are grasped one in each hand (FIG. 4) and are pulled downward over the rim 20 of the holder until the perforations or lines of weakness 70 of the bottle approach the annular rim of the holder. The tabs are then pulled sharply and obliquely against the circumferentialedge 61 of the annular rim, which acts as a bearing edge to assist in severing the tabs from the main body portion of the collapsible bottle.
After severing the tabs (FIG. 5), the open marginal edge 38 of the collapsible bottle automatically retracts to a position within the annular groove 22 of the holder This method of insertion has been found to assist in consistently positioning the bottle properly within the holder and locking the open marginal edge 38 of the bottle around the rim 20 of the holder and in the annular groove 22. At the same time; the sterility of the interior portion of the collapsible bottle is preserved since the only portion contacted by the hands, the tabs 54 and 56, is torn away from the remainder of the bottle.
An appropriate nursing liquid, such as. baby formula, milk, or juice, may now be inserted within the collapsible bottle, employing the calibrated markings 34 as an indication of the amount inserted.
The nipple 40 is then positioned over the top opening 18 of the holder in a manner such that the inner annular groove 52 of the nipple mates with the rim 20 of the 6. holder and the skirt 50 of the nipple rests within the annular groove 22 of the holder. Positioning of the nipple is facilitated by the annular rim 30 which acts as a guide marking the furthest extent of the edge of the nipple. When properly positioned, the edge of the nipple will abut the radial planar surface 58 of the annular rim 30 and will be exposed only at the discontinuity 62 in the rim.
During use, and particularly in the case of older babies or toddlers, the annular rim 30 serves as an abutmentor stop, which prevents the babys hands from applying pressure against the edge of the nipple while they hold the bottle in the mouth. No edges of the collapsible bottle are exposed, and the masking effect of the annular rim in covering the edge of the nipple will make removal of the nipple difficult for even the most agile child.
When nursing has been completed, removal of the nipple is accomplished by merely placing the tip of ones thumb within the discontinuity 62 in the annular rim, as guided by the circumferential ends 66 and 68 of the rim, to unseat the skirt 50 of the nipple from the annular groove 22. The hinging action of the skirt of the nipple about its inner annular groove is sufficient to dislodge the entire nipple from the top opening of the holder. The collapsible bottle can then be stripped from the holder and discarded.
From the above, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the materials of construction and precise .manner of fabrication of any of the parts of the nursing assembly described herein are not critical. The nipple and collapsible sac must, of course, be flexible, liquid impermeable, sterilizable, and somewhat elastic. Plastic film is generally preferred for the collapsible sac, since it can be compounded in a manner such that it will possess each of the above properties and also because it can be .fabricated into bags or sacs easily and inexpensively through the use of heat sealing or adhesives. The bags can be joined in the form of a sheet or long strip and can be rolled, if desired, to provide for easy dispensing. Also, the low cost of the commonly used plastic films makes them suitable for use, since it is necessary that the sacs be disposable after a single USE.
It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various modifications and changes will be possible within thescope of the invention disclosed. If desired, for example, a nipple retaining ring may be employed to further enhance the sealing action of the nipple about the rim of the holder, and a nipple cover, which is also useful as a base for the nursing holder, may be employed.
Having thus described certain forms of the invention in some detail, what is claimed is:
l. A nursing unit comprising a generally elongated, hollow nursing holder, a collapsible liquid-retention sac having a closed end'within the hollow portion of said holder and an open end extending therefrom, and a nipple, said nursing holder having an open sac and nipple-receiving end and an annular groove proximate to said end defining a peripheral sac and nipple-holding rim on the side of said groove closest to said end and further defining a discontinuous nipple abutment shoulder on the opposite side of said groove, said shoulder extending from said groove a lateral distance at least equal to the thickness of the portion of the nipple which abuts thereon and providing means for making the abutting edge of said nipple substantially inaccessible around its periphery except at the discontinuous portion of the shoulder, the discontinuity providing means for a finger to engage the edge of said nipple and unseat same from said nipple-holding rim.
2. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 1, wherein the shoulder formed by said annular groove extends laterally substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the nursing holder.
3. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 2, wherein said shoulder terminates at its outermost circumferential extension in a bearing edge defined by said shoulder and a substantially flat surface which extends from said edge at an acute angle back toward said holder on the side of said shoulder farthest from the open nipplereceiving end of said holder.
4. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 1, wherein the discontinuity in said nipple abutment shoulder is of sufficient width and depth to permit a thumb to enter such discontinuity, contact an edge of said nipple, and dislodge same from the open end of said nursing holder.
5. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 1, wherein said nipple abutment shoulder is discontinuous at a plurality of points about its circumference.
6. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 1, wherein said nipple abutment shoulder extends from said groove a lateral distance greater than the thickness of the portion of the nipple which abuts thereon.
7. In a nursing unit comprising an elongated tubular container holder having an open end adapted to be closed by a nipple positioned thereon and having a peripheral groove in its outside surface forming an upper right-angled shoulder and a lower peripheral shoulder, a disposable, flexible, open-ended container having an upper marginal portion folded outwardly and downwardly over the outside surface of the nipple-engaging end of said holder, and a nipple having a peripheral skirt portion with a thickened lower end adapted to lock the upper marginal portion of said container to the outer surface of said holder with the thickened lower end of said skirt substantially filling the peripheral groove of the holder, the improvement which comprises said lower peripheral shoulder being discontinuous and extending laterally from said peripheral groove a distance at least equal to the thickness of the thickened lower end of the nipple in a manner such that the lower end of the nipple is substantially inaccessible around the entire circumference of the holder except at the discontinuity in the lower peripheral shoulder, where the lower end of the nipple is accessible to facilitate removal of the nipple.
8. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 7, wherein said lower peripheral shoulder contains a plurality of discontinuities.
9. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 7, wherein the discontinuity in said lower peripheral shoulder is of sufficient width to permit a thumb to enter such discontinuity and engage the lower end of the nipple and unseat same from the open end of the holder.
10. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 7, wherein said lower peripheral shoulder extends laterally from said peripheral groove a distance greater than the thickness of the thickened lower end of the nipple.
11. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 7, wherein said lower peripheral shoulder extends laterally substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of said holder.
12. A nursing unit in accordance with claim 11, wherein said lower peripheral shoulder terminates at its outermost lateral extension in a circumferential hearing edge which is the apex of an acute angle, said lower peripheral shoulder being one arm of the angle and the other arm of the angle extending back toward the holder and contacting same at a point below the lower peripheral shoulder.