Title:
Nursing shawl
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to a nursing shawl that can be worn by a woman to shield the woman's breasts while she nurses a small child. In one embodiment of the present invention, the nursing shawl is a one-piece garment constructed from a continuous piece of fabric and includes a top aperture through which a woman's head, neck, a first shoulder, and a first arm extend when the nursing shawl is worn. The nursing shawl wraps over the second shoulder, covering the second arm. The nursing shawl further includes two side edges that meet beneath the open first arm. The side edges can be fastened along the top portion, but are otherwise unfastened along the remaining length to provide access for attending to the small child beneath the nursing shawl and to provide a place for the small child's legs to extend.



Inventors:
Wakefield, Marie Wavelet (Orting, WA, US)
Mccomb, Eldonna Jane (Puyallup, WA, US)
Gonzales, Joanne Christine (Auburn, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/580131
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/12/2006
Assignee:
Bellies & Beyond, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLYMPIC PATENT WORKS PLLC (P.O. BOX 4277, SEATTLE, WA, 98104, US)
Claims:
1. A one-piece nursing shawl for shielding a woman's breasts while nursing a small child, the one-piece nursing shawl comprising: an expandable top aperture through which the woman's head, a first shoulder, and a first arm can extend when the woman is wearing the nursing shawl; a front side edge positioned under the woman's first arm when the woman is wearing the nursing shawl; a rear side edge that can be fastened to the front side edge; and a bottom edge positioned in proximity to the woman's waist when the woman is wearing the nursing shawl.

2. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 1 wherein the top aperture includes one or more of an elastic border; and a drawstring.

3. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 1 wherein the rear side edge is fastened to the front side edge by one or more sewn seams, buttons, snaps, zippers, hook and loop fasteners, and alligator clips.

4. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 1 wherein the front side edge and the rear side edge each include a top portion and a bottom portion.

5. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 4 wherein the rear side edge is partially fastened to the front side edge.

6. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 4 wherein the rear side edge is partially fastened to the front side edge along the top portion of the rear side edge and the top portion of the front side edge.

7. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 4 wherein the rear side edge and the front side edge are unfastened along the bottom portion of the rear side edge and the bottom portion of the front side edge.

8. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 1 wherein the bottom edge is expandable.

9. The one-piece nursing shawl of claim 1 wherein the bottom edge includes one or more of an elastic border; and a drawstring.

10. A method for a woman to maintain privacy while nursing a small child, the method comprising: providing a nursing shawl that includes an expandable top aperture, a front side edge, a rear side edge that fastens to the front side edge, and a bottom edge; placing the woman's head, a first shoulder, and a first arm through the top aperture so that the woman's head, first shoulder, and first arm are external to the nursing shawl, while the woman's second shoulder and second arm are underneath the nursing shawl; fastening the front side edge to the rear side edge under the first arm; and holding the nursing small child under the nursing shawl with the second arm.

11. The method of claim 10 further including attending to the small child with the first arm by passing the first arm underneath the nursing shawl though an unfastened section of the first side edge and the second side edge.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein the top aperture includes one or more of an elastic border; and a drawstring.

13. The method of claim 10 wherein the rear side edge is fastened to the front side edge by one or more sewn seams, buttons, snaps, zippers, hook and loop fasteners, and alligator clips.

14. The method of claim 10 wherein the front side edge and the rear side edge each include a top portion and a bottom portion.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the rear side edge is partially fastened to the front side edge.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the rear side edge is partially fastened to the front side edge along the top portion of the rear side edge and the top portion of the front side edge.

17. The method of claim 14 wherein the rear side edge and the front side edge are unfastened along the bottom portion of the rear side edge and the bottom portion of the front side edge.

18. The method of claim 10 wherein the bottom edge is expandable.

19. The method of claim 10 wherein the bottom edge includes one or more of an elastic border; and a drawstring.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 60/726,930, filed Oct. 14, 2005.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to the field of nursing shields, and, in particular, to a nursing shawl.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many nursing mothers attempt to maintain an active lifestyle despite the many tasks associated with caring for a small child. However, taking an excursion out of the house can be an ordeal for a nursing mother with small children. Bags can easily become filled with toys and other child-care-related items, including diapers, sanitary wipes, clothing, powders, blankets, and pacifiers. Some nursing mothers find it especially inconvenient to take their children into a public setting for an extended period of time due to the additional problems attendant with nursing their children in public. Many mothers are not comfortable nursing their children in public, and many use some sort of shielding device, such as a nursing shield or a baby blanket, to cover their breasts while nursing. Currently available nursing shields are often specialized items with unique shapes and intricate straps that are difficult to put on and unsightly to look at. Although baby blankets can be useful for wrapping a child for warmth and comfort, baby blankets often are not effective nursing shields because baby blankets lack rigidity and often fall out of place during the nursing process, exposing the nursing mother's breast. Nursing mothers have, therefore, recognized a need for a convenient, easy-to-use, and stylish nursing shield.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to a nursing shawl that can be worn by a woman to shield the woman's breasts while she nurses a small child. In one embodiment of the present invention, the nursing shawl is a one-piece garment constructed from a continuous piece of fabric and includes a top aperture through which a woman's head, neck, a first shoulder, and a first arm extend when the nursing shawl is worn. The nursing shawl wraps over the second shoulder, covering a second arm. The nursing shawl further includes two side edges that meet beneath the open first arm. The side edges can be fastened along the top portion, but are otherwise unfastened along the remaining length to provide access for attending to the small child beneath the nursing shawl and to provide a place for the small child's legs to extend.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a woman wearing an exemplary nursing shawl that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a back view of a woman wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A illustrates a side view of a woman wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B illustrates a side view of a woman nursing a small child while wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of a nursing small child underneath the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the present invention are directed to a nursing shawl that can be worn by a woman to shield the woman's breasts while she nurses a small child. FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a woman wearing an exemplary nursing shawl that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 1, a nursing shawl 100 is shown being worn by a woman 102. The nursing shawl 100 includes a top aperture 104 through which the woman's head 106, neck 108, right shoulder 110, and right arm 112 extend. The woman's right arm 112 remains outside the nursing shawl 100, while her left arm (not shown in FIG. 1) is covered by the nursing shawl 100. The top aperture 104 includes an elastic border 114 that can be stretched so that the woman 102 can open the top aperture 104 to observe a nursing child (not shown in FIG. 1) beneath the nursing shawl 100. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the top aperture 104 utilizes a drawstring instead of an elastic border 114. The drawstring can be clinched for privacy and uncinched to allow observation of a nursing child beneath the nursing shawl 100. The nursing shawl 100 also includes a bottom edge 116 positioned in proximity to the woman's waist 118. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, an elastic border is included along the bottom edge 116 of the nursing shawl 100. In yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention, a drawstring is included along the bottom edge 116 of the nursing shawl 100.

FIG. 2 illustrates a back view of a woman wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 2, the nursing shawl 100 is shown as a one-piece garment with a front side edge 202 and a rear side edge 204 that meet below the woman's exposed right arm 112. The nursing shawl 100 is fastened at a single point, or at several closely-positioned points, along a top portion 206 of front side edge 202 and a rear side edge 204, while a bottom portion 208 of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204 remains open. In FIG. 2, the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204 are shown stitched together to form a seam along the top portion 206 of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204. In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, various types of fasteners may be used to fasten the nursing shawl along the complete length of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204 to fully enclose a nursing small child (not shown in FIG. 2) and the woman's torso (not shown in FIG. 2). In yet another alternate embodiment of the present invention, various fasteners can be used to fasten the nursing shawl along a portion of the length of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204, including along the length of the top portion 206, along the length of the bottom portion 208, or along a section of the top portion 206 and/or a section of the bottom portion 208. Suitable fasteners for interconnecting all, or a portion, of the front side edge 202 to the rear side edge 204 may include one or more buttons, snaps, zippers, hook and loop fasteners, and alligator clips.

FIG. 3A illustrates a side view of a woman wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. The woman's 302 exposed right arm 304 is shown in a forward position to more clearly show the fastened top portion 206 and unfastened bottom portion 208 of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204. When the woman 302 is nursing a small child (not shown in FIG. 3A), the woman's 302 exposed right arm 304 can be used to access the small child through either the unfastened bottom portion 208, through the top aperture 104, or under the bottom edge 116.

FIG. 3B illustrates a side view of a woman nursing a small child while wearing the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. Legs 306 from a nursing small child 308 are shown extending from the unfastened bottom portion 208 of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204 of the nursing shawl 100. In addition to providing room for the small child's legs 306 to extend, the unfastened bottom portion 208 provides additional space for the small child 308 to move around, and provides the woman 302 with a convenient access point to reach under the nursing shawl 100 with her right arm 304 to attend to the needs of the small child 308.

FIG. 4 shows a front view of a nursing small child underneath the exemplary nursing shawl shown in FIG. 1 that represents one embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 4, a woman 402 wearing the nursing shawl 100 is shown nursing a small child 404. The woman's covered left arm 406 is holding the small child 404, while the woman's exposed right arm 408 is positioned with the distal end of the exposed right arm 408 passed through the unfastened bottom portion 208 of the front side edge 202 and rear side edge 204 to help support the lower half of the small child's body. The small child's legs 410 are shown extending through the unfastened bottom portion 208 of the front side edge 202 and the rear side edge 204, under the woman's exposed right arm 408.

The nursing shawl increases a woman's privacy while nursing a small child. Material covers the woman when she is viewed from the front, back, or from her covered-arm side. Although the exposed-arm side of the woman may contain an unfastened top portion and/or bottom portion, the unfastened top and/or bottom portion is generally covered by the woman's exposed arm. Privacy is maintained when the woman wearing a nursing shawl is viewed from above because the top aperture has an elastic border that conforms to the woman's body. Privacy is also maintained when the woman wearing a nursing shawl is viewed from below because of the woman's arms holding the small child in position.

The nursing shawl can be constructed from any number of fabrics, including cotton, premium stretch fibers, polyester, or other lightweight and breathable materials. The nursing shawl can also be constructed in a variety of sizes, colors, and prints. The nursing shawl can be worn so that the woman's left shoulder and arm are exposed, while the woman's right shoulder and arm are covered by the nursing shawl. Alternatively, the nursing shawl can be reversed so that the woman's right shoulder and arm are exposed, while her left shoulder and arm are covered by the nursing shawl. Moreover, the nursing shawl can be used in many different situations and in many different environments. For example, the nursing shawl can maintain nursing privacy while a woman is seated, lying down, standing, or walking.

Additional modifications within the spirit of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, one or more pockets can be added to the nursing shawl to carry items, such as a nursing pad or a pacifier. Various colours, fabrics, sizes, and designs can be used when fabricating nursing shawls. A nursing shawl can be designed so that, when the nursing shawl is being worn by a woman, the bottom edge of the nursing shawl hangs at a level that is either higher or lower than the woman's waist.

The foregoing detailed description, for purposes of illustration, used specific nomenclature to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the specific details are not required in order to practice the invention. Thus, the foregoing descriptions of specific embodiments of the present invention are presented for purposes of illustration and description; they are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obviously many modifications and variation are possible in view of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical applications and to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.