Title:
Nursing aid
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A nursing aid, comprising of a cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces wherein at least one of the lateral sides has a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position and a light module for providing light for the nursing mother.



Inventors:
Bartner, Laura (Maplecrest, NY, US)
Otten, Robert (Maplecrest, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/087921
Publication Date:
04/13/2006
Filing Date:
03/23/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/905
International Classes:
A47D15/00; A47C27/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAFAVI, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF JAY R. YABLON (SCHENECTADY, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A nursing aid, comprising: a cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces; wherein at least one of the lateral sides has a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position; and a light module for providing light for the nursing mother.

2. The nursing aid of claim 1 wherein the cushion is generally rectangular

3. The nursing aid according to claim 1, wherein said cushion is made from polyurethane foam.

4. A nursing aid, comprising: a generally rectangular first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, at least one of the lateral sides of said first cushion having a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position; and a generally rectangular second cushion detachably connected to said first cushion, the second cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces; and a light module contained therein for providing light for the nursing mother.

5. The nursing aid of claim 4 wherein the light module comprises a plurality of LEDs under the control of a programmable timer.

6. A nursing aid, comprising: a generally rectangular first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, at least one of the lateral sides of said first cushion having a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position; and a generally rectangular second cushion detachably connected to said first cushion, the second cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces; a light module contained therein and comprising a plurality of LED's for providing light for the nursing mother; and cords for hanging the aid on the side of a crib whereby the light acts as a nightlight.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This application derives priority from U.S. Ser. No. 60/617,212 filed on Oct. 12, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a support device used when nursing infants, and more particularly, to a cushion which supports the back of an infant when an infant is in a side reclining position so that a nursing mother may lay on her side to breast-feed the infant.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When nursing an infant, a mother typically supports and cradles the infant close to her bosom using her arm and elbow. Prolonged or repetitive nursing in this manner often causes the mother to suffer pain and fatigue in the arms and back, rendering her unable to provide proper support for the infant she is holding. Without proper support, the infant may experience significant discomfort or injury, including torsional rotation of the spine and neck, while being breast-fed.

Although various devices are known to have been proposed for supporting an infant while sleeping or during various other activities, none provide a structure for adequately supporting an infant's spine during breast-feeding having the features of the present invention. None provide a soft light to assist the mother while nursing, while not disturbing the sleeping father. Thus, a nursing aid solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

The patent literature is replete with various supports and systems for nursing an infant. U.S. Pat. No. 6,711,770 discloses a support pillow for supporting an infant during nursing, comprises a generally U-shaped base having two free ends, a top surface and a bottom surface, and an infant securing strap attached at least one end to the base. The strap is adapted to be wrapped over an infant resting on the top surface of the base. The strap is removably securable to secure the infant on the base.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,708,354 discloses an assembly of two pillows attached in such a way as to support the back and legs of a mother nursing an infant in a side lying position. The assembly consists of a flat, waterproofed pad attached to a cushioned back supporting pillow connected in turn to a pillow pulled down between the mother's knees. The placement of the second pillow causes tension between the two pillows that helps support the mother's side lying position while nursing.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,694,550 discloses a vibrating cushion for relieving fatigue and reforming a sleeping position includes a cylindrical sponge carrying three motors. A controller controls the motors to generate vibrations. The cushion includes a frame having open ends with one end of the sponge fixed in the frame. A vessel receiving a battery is inserted into an end of the frame. A cap having a controller input and display covers the vessel. An aromatic case is mounted to the cap and an outer cover covers an inner cover and the frame. Hot or cold packs are detachably mounted to the outer cover. A user lies on his/her side while wrapping arms and legs around the cushion or placing legs on the cushion, whereby the spine becomes straight and blood circulation is improved.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,370,715 discloses a portable bed for a newborn infant made up of a rectangular flat support surface which holds a firm infant mattress pad, the surface having a rigid headboard perpendicularly attached at one end, and rigid perpendicular partial side walls attached to both the support surface and to the headboard. A hinge is provided about midway along the longitudinal length of the support surface allowing the unit to be closed against itself to facilitate easy transport. A soft fabric cover is provided to cover the surface, headboard and side walls. A firm waterproof mattress pad having the same dimensions as the support surface is also provided. A pair of handles may also be provided at either end of the support surface for carrying the unit when folded together.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,528,785 discloses a confining device couch converter which converts a seat cushion of a couch into a confining device for a resting baby. The confining device includes a sheet portion, which is flat, for covering a portion of the seat cushion where the baby rests. A wedge positioned along a perimeter of the sheet portion provides a barrier so that the baby does not fall onto the floor. An attaching portion connects the sheet portion to the seat cushion so that the confining device is secured to the seat cushion.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,411,457 discloses an invention which in its preferred embodiment includes a sliding inclined bed (11) which has a stationary perpendicularly disposed kick board (25) positioned at the lower foot end of the bed (11). The infant (1) is secured to the inclined carriage bed (11) using traps (19) attached to a cushion (18) which is in turn attached to the upper surface (12a) of the bed (11). The carriage bed (11) is slidably secured to a main frame (22) which includes an inclined base board (23). The carriage bed (11) is attached to the base board (23) using ball bearings (24). The inclined base board (23) is supported by a main frame incline support (29) which can be of adjustable height to adjust the angle of incline of the sliding carriage bed (11). A positive reinforcement sensory signal generator (30) is attached between the carriage bed (11) and the base board (23). The signal generator generates (30) a signal, generally a pleasing sound or interesting light display, in response to relative motion between the carriage bed (11) and the base board (23).

U.S. Pat. No. 5,400,230 discloses a pillow light is provided and consists of a flashlight assembly and a very soft casing sealed about the flashlight assembly. The flashlight assembly with the very soft casing can be inserted between a pillowcase and a pillow on a bed and not disturb a person resting their head on the pillowcase. In the event of a power failure and other emergencies the pillow light will be at hand for a dependable light source.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,272,780 discloses a support pillow having two resilient pads and a bottom panel connecting between the two pads. The two pads are in spaced relationship with one another so as to define a channel to receive an infant placed on its side within the channel. The infant's head and possibly arms extend out one open end of the channel, and his legs extend out the other oppositely disposed open end of the channel. The channel is defined by planar walls of the spaced pads. The planar walls of the pads are soft so as to be somewhat conformable to the natural curvature of the infant's body when the width of the channel is adjusted with the opposing planar walls pressed snugly against the infant, one wall against his back, and the other wall against his chest area. The planar walls support the body with wide surface area contact and thereby comfort and adequate holding pressures are gained. Capabilities for adjusting the width of the channel are provide with adjustable fasteners such as hook and loop.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,649 discloses an inflatable nursing pillow having multiple air chambers which provide adjustability of air pressure and customized support for a child during bottle and breast-feeding. The device is anatomically shaped in a substantially yoke shaped configuration to extend around the user's torso and provide support for either left-handed or right-handed feeding. Each air chamber has an independent air valve to allow separate adjustment of air pressure. This adjustability allows customized support and adaptation for the size of the child, position of the user and child, and adaptation with chair arms, bed railings, or other physical constraints. The invention includes a removable elastic cover which provides a soft and moisture absorbent outer surface which can be easily changed and washed. The device is fully portable and can be deflated for storage or transportation and folded up into small dimensions for convenient carrying in a handbag or other suitable article.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,478,445 relates to a mechanically rocked cradle and bed for infants and children, in which the cradle is movably supported by a stationary frame provided with a mechanism for rocking the cradle in situ.

U.S. Patent Application No. 2004/0060117 discloses an inflatable body support apparatus is provided wherein the apparatus comprises a base pad; at least two inflatable supports having an inflation valve, the first support being an abdominal support and the second support being a back support; and a means for attaching the first and second supports onto the base pad.

U.S. Patent Application No. 2003/0145384 discloses an infant positioning system and method for positioning an infant during sleep. The infant positioning system includes and infant support device and a headgear. The infant support device is configured for receiving the infant, and selectively changing the position of the infant each night. The headgear is configured to fit about the head of the infant, dispersing the pressure a sleeping surface places on the head of the infant.

A number of design patents have also issued on nursing aids. U.S. Design Pat. No. 448,227 discloses an ornamental design for an infant positioner. U.S. Design Pat. No. 385,143 discloses an ornamental design for an infant bolster support. U.S. Design Pat. No. 318,969 discloses an ornamental design for a nursing pillow. U.S. Design Pat. No. 318,202 discloses a design for an infant support pillow for use while nursing or bottle feeding.

Finally, Great Britain Patent No. 2,274,246 discloses a support pillow is in two main sections, each section having an elongated resilient foam member each covered with fabric with a portion of the fabric extending outward to define a flexible panel; the top surface of one panel, and the bottom surface of the other panel are affixed with elongated hook and loop fastening strips which allow adjustable overlapping affixment of the two panels. The two sections of the support pillow when affixed together define an open-ended and open-top vertical walled channel with the panels and fabric-covered foam members providing an anti-roll device for the infant. An elongated lengthwise recess is formed into each vertical side wall facing the channel to define a ventilation system which includes an excluding arrangement for excluding an infant's face from fully entering the recess and the infant's nose and mouth from engaging a wall defining the recess.

While there are a large number of prior art patents, none of the prior art systems provide a lighted system for use with a nursing aid.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a nursing aid with a soft light.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a nursing aid and support with a light and storage areas.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a multiple piece nursing aid which includes a light, preferably constructed from LEDs.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a multiple piece nursing aid in which the duration of the lights are set by a timer.

These and other objects of the invention will become apparent from the detailed description which follows.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A nursing aid, comprising of a cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, wherein at least one of the lateral sides has a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position and a light module for providing light for the nursing mother.

In other embodiments, the nursing aid includes a generally rectangular first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces. At least one lateral side has a concave surface which defines a groove for supporting an infant in a side reclining position. When the infant is properly positioned within the groove of the nursing aid, a nursing mother may lay on her side to breast-feed the infant without having to use her arms to support the infant's back. The nursing aid helps to prevent an infant from experiencing rotation in the spine, neck, or pelvic area while breast-feeding. The nursing aid also serves as a barrier between the infant and an individual who may be resting behind the infant.

A second cushion may be detachably connected to the first cushion to prevent the first cushion from slipping or creeping during nursing. The second cushion may include a light module to provide illumination for the mother during nightly feedings, at least one pocket to store nursing necessities, and hanging cords so that the cushion may be hung from a vertical support and serve as a night-light when detached from the first cushion. A critical feature of the invention is the inclusion of a light module. The light module provides a soft light visible to the nursing mother.

In other embodiment, the invention is a nursing aid, comprising of a first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces wherein at least one of the lateral sides has a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position and a light module for providing light for the nursing mother.

In a further embodiment, the invention comprises a nursing aid, comprising: a generally rectangular first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, at least one of the lateral sides of said first cushion having a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position; generally rectangular second cushion detachably connected to said first cushion, the second cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces; and a light module contained therein for providing light for the nursing mother.

In yet a further embodiment, the invention is a nursing aid, comprising: a generally rectangular first cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, at least one of the lateral sides of said first cushion having a concave surface defining a groove for supporting the back of an infant lying in a side reclining position; a generally rectangular second cushion detachably connected to said first cushion, the second cushion having a top surface, an opposing bottom surface, and a plurality of lateral sides extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces; a light module contained therein and comprising a plurality of LED's for providing light for the nursing mother; and cords for handing the aid on the side of a crib whereby the light acts as a nightlight.

These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a nursing aid according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a nursing aid according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a nursing aid according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a nursing aid according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a nursing aid according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing the electronics of the light module of the nursing aid according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a rear view of the nursing aid according to the second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a rear perspective view of a nursing aid according to the present invention similar to the first embodiment, showing additional features.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to a nursing aid, generally designated as 10 in the drawings. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the nursing aid 10 supports an infant in a side reclining position so that a nursing mother may lie on her side to breast-feed the infant without having to use her arms to support the infant's back. The nursing aid 10 includes a generally rectangular cushion 12 having a top surface 12a, an opposing bottom surface 12b, and a plurality of lateral sides 12c extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, 12a and 12b, as can be seen more clearly in FIG. 2. At least one side edge 12c has a concave or crescent-shaped surface, which defines a groove 14 for supporting the back and possibly the head of an infant when the infant is lying in a side reclining position. The cushion 12 can be made from polyurethane foam material, such as upholstery foam, or other suitable cushioning material. The cushion 12 may further include a removable outer covering made from fleece or other soft fabric.

As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 and a critical feature of the invention, the cushion preferably includes a light module 20 disposed in a housing within the cushion 12. A layer of fiber batting 23 may be used to cover the light module 20 in the housing so that only a soft glow is emitted from the top surface 12a of the cushion 12, which allows the mother to see her infant without disturbing anyone else in the room.

FIG. 6 depicts a block diagram showing the electronics of the light module 20. The light module 20 includes a power supply 22, such as one or more batteries. A rocker type power switch 24 is electrically connected to the power supply 22. A programmable time 28 and one or more programmable switches 26 are electrically connected to the power switch 24. Alternatively, the timer need not be programmable. The light module 20 further includes a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) 30 for providing illumination. Programmable switches 26 permit the programmable timer 28 to set the duration of the time period in which the LEDs 30 are turned on. Programmable timer circuits are well known in the art and will not be discussed further. The light module 20 is disposed inside the second cushion 26 so that the illumination provided by the LEDs 30 will pass through the top of the cushion 12a and provide only a dim light to the user so that others in the room who may be asleep are not disturbed.

Referring to FIG. 7, cushion 12 may further include at least one pocket 32 to store nursing necessities. The pocket 32 may be disposed at a side edge 16c of the second cushion 12, as is shown, for storing nursing necessities, such as burp cloths and pacifiers. The pocket 32 may be of any suitable size or shape. The cushion 12 may also include a pair of cords 34. The cords 34 may be used to hang the cushion 12 from a vertical support, such as posts on a crib, when the cushion is detached from the first cushion. In this way the cushion 12 may also be utilized as a night-light.

FIG. 3 depicts an alternative embodiment of the nursing aid, generally designated as 11. The nursing aid 11 is identical to the nursing aid 10, except that the nursing aid 11 further includes a generally rectangular second cushion 16 detachably connected to the first cushion 12. The second cushion 16 has a top surface 16a, an opposing bottom surface 16b, and a plurality of side edges 16c extending normal to and connecting the top and bottom surfaces, 16a and 16b. The second cushion 16 serves as an anchor or support for the first cushion 12 so as to prevent the first cushion 12 from slipping or creeping during nursing. As shown in FIG. 4, mating straps of hook-and-loop fastening material 18 can be provided on the first and second cushions, 12 and 16, together. As with the first cushion 12, the second cushion 16 can be made from upholstery foam or other suitable cushioning material and may have a removable covering made from fleece or other suitable fabric. It is preferable, however, that the top surface 16a of the second cushion be covered only with a thin, translucent fabric, such as cotton.

As shown in FIG. 5, the second cushion preferably includes the light module 20 disposed in a housing within the second cushion 16. A layer of fiber batting 23 may be used to cover the light module 20 in the housing so that only a soft glow is emitted from the top surface 16a of the second cushion 16, which allows the mother to see her infant without disturbing anyone else in the room.

FIG. 6 depicts a block diagram showing the electronics of the light module 20. The light module 20 includes a power supply 22, such as one or more batteries. A rocker type power switch 24 is electrically connected to the power supply 22. A programmable time 28 and one or more programmable switches 26 are electrically connected to the power switch 24. Alternatively, the timer need not be programmable. The light module 20 further includes a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) 30 for providing illumination. Programmable switches 26 permit the programmable timer 28 to set the duration of the time period in which the LEDs 30 are turned on. Programmable timer circuits are well known in the art and will not be discussed further. The light module 20 is disposed inside the second cushion 26 so that the illumination provided by the LEDs 30 will pass through the top of the cushion 16a and provide only a dim light to the user so that others in the room who may be asleep are not disturbed.

As with the first embodiment, the second cushion 16 may further include at least one pocket 32 to store nursing necessities. The pocket 32 may be disposed at a side edge 16c of the second cushion 16, as is shown, for storing nursing necessities, such as burp cloths and pacifiers. The pocket 32 may be of any suitable size or shape. The second cushion 16 may also include a pair of cords 34. The cords 34 may be used to hang the second cushion 16 from a vertical support, such as posts on a crib, when the second cushion is detached from the first cushion. In this way the second cushion 16 may also be utilized as a night-light.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.