When I had a chance to connect with Sam Rudolph, co-founder of Babyation and mom to 2.5-year-old Exton, I did not pass up the opportunity. She and her husband Jared are on a mission to bring better products to parents, starting with a breast pump that’s quiet, discreet, and smart.
Sam didn’t set out to have a company like this. Her professional career until now focused on sports and media. And while this is certainly a big change, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Participating in people’s parenting journeys is one of the most rewarding things she feels she has ever done.
And when I got a sneak peak of the product, I was blown away. Mamas, The Pump by Babyation is a game changer.
When did you first learn about the breast pump? My introduction to breast pumps was completely accidental – I wasn’t even pregnant yet! I read an article about how outdated breast pumps were and how they were based on technologies that hadn’t evolved in decades, and I got really angry. I started ranting to my husband, who happens to be a gifted engineer. He said “I can build one.” And thus Babyation was born!
What are some of the challenges women face in terms of breastfeeding/pumping? Pumping (and breastfeeding) is one of the most intimate things a woman does as a parent. She has a relationship with her breast pump, and unfortunately, that relationship is generally toxic. Breast pumps are limiting, unnatural, and often viewed as a necessary evil.
What issues do you see with the current breast pump options?
The current breast pump options are noisy, bulky, uncomfortable, and they require a woman to opt out of her life in order to use them. To me, that’s just unacceptable.
How is Babyation solving these issues? We made discretion our North Star, and everything falls under that umbrella. Babyation’s breast shields are much smaller than any other option, which means moms can wear their normal clothes. Our pump is quiet. With our app-controllable pump, a woman doesn’t have to be touching the pump enclosure if she doesn’t want to. No one would think twice about a woman tapping on her phone, so using it to adjust or monitor her pump would give no indication of what she’s doing.
How do you see this having a positive impact on women? A mom can finally integrate her breast pump into her life and pump on her terms. We like to say that Babyation is about feminism and freedom and family, in whatever manner that looks like to each individual woman.
As a mother and entrepreneur, how do you practice self-care? The kindest thing I do for myself is give myself a break. I don’t beat myself up if the house is messy or if we don’t cook as much as I’d like. I am very clear in my priorities, and I accept that there are things that just aren’t as important to me right now, and that those things simply won’t get done. At some point, there will be time for the other things, but for now, I’m doing my best…and my best is more than good enough for me.
Personally, what is the biggest challenge you are currently facing? And professionally? I have a lot on my plate right now, and juggling a startup and a toddler doesn’t leave a lot of time for me. If I had an extra hour in my day right now that couldn’t go to Babyation or my son, I would spend that time working out. I always hated exercise, but now that I really can’t fit it into my schedule, I miss it!
As for professionally, the fun is just beginning as our product gets closer to market! One thing I take very seriously is engaging with every mom that wants to talk to us. I love hearing women’s stories, and I think the most valuable thing I can be doing is learning from moms. This inspires us to make products that actually meet their needs and can be used in the ways that are best for them.
Where do you see Babyation in five years? Making a lot of products to make parents’ lives easier. It’s about time innovation and technology were added into things for families!
Favorite tip to a new mom? I have two favorite tips: 1) Trust your gut. 2) Most of the things that seem so important now won’t matter in a few months.
If you could shout anything from the rooftop, what would you say? You’ve got this, Mama!