Title:
Nursing privacy screen
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A privacy screen is provided for use by a mother while breast feeding a baby, comprising a textile of sufficient size to hide from viewing the arms and chest of the mother and a baby while held in the arms of the mother during breast feeding, and having edges long enough to conceal the desired portion of the chest and shoulder of the mother above the breast; and at least one pocket integrated into the screen to hold a weighted member to hold the screen in place over the shoulder of the mother while nursing.



Inventors:
Haarala, Terri (Frisco, TX, US)
Hope, Kimberly (Frisco, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/073945
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/104, 2/247
International Classes:
A41D13/04; A41D1/20; A41D27/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, PLLC (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A privacy screen for use by a mother while breast feeding a baby comprising: a textile of sufficient size to hide from viewing the arms and chest of the mother and a baby while held in the arms of the mother during breast feeding, and having edges long enough to conceal the desired portion of the chest and shoulder of the mother above the breast; and at least one pocket integrated into the screen to hold a weighted member.

2. The privacy screen of claim 1, further including a weighted member integrated into said at least one pocket for holding the screen in place and preventing said screen from falling off the mother.

3. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said at least one pocket is formed in a corner portion of said privacy screen.

4. The privacy screen of claim i wherein said at least one pocket is formed adjacent an edge portion of said privacy screen.

5. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein a pocket is formed in more than one corner of said screen.

6. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said pocket is closable, and permits a weighted member to be both placed in said pocket, and removed from said pocket.

7. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said screen has substantially square corners, and said at least one pocket is formed in at least one of said corners.

8. The privacy screen of claim 2, wherein said weighted member is fabric covered.

9. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said weighted member is rubber covered.

10. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said at least one pocket is closable by means comprising a hook and loop fastener, a snap means, zipper means, or buttons.

11. The privacy screen of claim 1, wherein said screen further comprises at least one pocket to hold items or accessories suitable for a nursing mother and/or baby.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority pursuant to 35 USC 119(e) based on U.S. provisional application No. 60/906,855, filed Mar. 14, 2007, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a screen which provides privacy for use by a nursing mother while breast feeding a baby, particularly in a public place.

There exist many forms of garments, covers, and blankets for a woman's upper torso for use in shielding a mother's breasts from view when nursing in public. While traditional blankets and cloths have been used for this purpose, a blanket or cloth draped over a mother's shoulder typically easily slides off, thus risking the possibility of exposing the mother's breasts.

As a result, numerous types of securable privacy coverings have been developed. These privacy coverings have either been securable at the mothers' shoulder (U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,964,172; 4,989,268; and 5,038,411), or around the neck in the manner of a bib (for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,631,754; 4,716,597; 4,924,528; 4,987,612; 5,034,999; and 5,893,171).

The first type requires cumbersome clamps, clips, or loops that must be attached to the mother's shoulder, clothing, or arm. This design poses problems if the mother is wearing strapless or thin-strapped clothing, causing discomfort if the holding mechanisms are in contact with-the body, are too big or loose, and risking exposure if the holding mechanism is too small or will not readily clamp to the arm or sheer clothing.

Also, this type of covering risks damaging or wrinkling the mother's clothing through use of a holding mechanism. Finally, this covering does not convert to a blanket to be used by the mother when she is not nursing, as the clips could be dangerous to a baby causing scratches or choking if swallowed.

The bib type privacy shields also have deficiencies. For example, if hooked around the neck of the mother, a bib type covering large enough to cover a mother's torso has a tendency to wrap around both sides of the mother at once, providing little ventilation to the baby.

To alleviate this situation and provide a viewing hole for the mother, U.S. Pat. No. 5,893,171 provides a flexible shapeable coated wire in the upper edge of the nursing cover-up. In practice, this viewing hole, while providing ventilation and a view for the mother, also allows people, such as waiters or others walking by in public places, the potential to see the nursing mother's breasts. Again, this shield does not readily convert to a blanket to be used by the mother when she is not nursing, as the coated wire could cause discomfort if it comes into contact with the baby or becomes dislodged from the cover-up.

Also, in the case of U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,479,662, and 5,893,171, a mother must place a hook and loop self-adhering detachable closure or strap around her neck which assists in preventing the device from slipping. However, the device is cumbersome, draws attention to the nursing mother, and can mess up the hair of the nursing mother as a result of being put on and off over the head, thereby making its use less desirable.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,716,597, a nursing cover is disclosed in the form of a poncho worn by the mother by placing it over her head. Such a poncho is large and difficult to carry around. The poncho also provides a rigid hoop hemmed into the neck opening to allow ventilation and viewing of the baby while breast feeding. However, the opening again provides other people walking by the nursing mother the opportunity to potentially see her breasts. The poncho does not convert into a blanket to be used when the mother is not nursing, as the rigid hoop could cause discomfort if in contact with the baby.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The objects of the present invention are accordingly to provide a privacy screen for use during nursing which is both easy to use, safe for use with a nursing baby, and convertible to a blanket for use with the baby when not nursing.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a nursing screen which provides privacy to a mother who breast feeds in public. This device uses a weight (preferably removable) to hold the screen in place over the mother's shoulder. A pocket holds the weight and preferably allows the weight to be removed for washing or for the weight to be removed and the device to be used as a baby blanket. Pocket(s) are also preferably provided to permit storage of items suitable for nursing or for baby.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the top view of the nursing screen.

FIG. 2 shows the pockets integrated into bottom of the screen.

FIG. 3 shows a weight which may be inserted into a pocket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a nursing privacy screen which allows a nursing mother to breast feed her child in public while maintaining privacy and minimizing risk of exposure of herself to other people while nursing, while also serving the additional advantage of allowing the mother to use the screen as a baby blanket when the baby is not nursing.

The screen comprises a piece of fabric held in place over the mother's shoulder with a weight incorporated therein at one end (e.g., corner) or edge portion thereof. The weighted portion is placed over the mother's shoulder while she is nursing, thus permitting her to nurse her baby without holding the screen in place (and permitting unrestricted use of both hands), while also prohibiting others from seeing underneath. The screen preferably has closable pockets that provide a place to hold the weight and to hold items or accessories suitable for a nursing mother or baby.

This device can be produced in a one size fits all design and is easy to place on one's body for use and removal. The weight can be removed for washing purposes so that the device can be used as a baby blanket. It can be folded to a size small enough to be placed in a diaper bag or purse. The fabric is preferably breathable and lightweight and the sides are open, allowing ventilation for the baby.

More specifically, and as depicted in the Figures, a weight 12 inserted in pocket 11 holds the nursing screen 10 in place during the feeding process. The weight 12 is heavy enough to hold the screen 10 in place when placed over the mother's shoulder, but is not so heavy that transporting the weight in a diaper bag or purse is uncomfortable or undesirable. Advantageously, the weighted portion of the privacy screen can easily be removed from one shoulder and switched to the other shoulder by the mother during feeding without cumbersome clips or straps. Additionally, the privacy screen does not wrap around both arms and sides of the mother at once, thus providing better ventilation to the baby. Also, integrated pocket 13 may be provided to provide storage for nursing items such as nursing pads or baby items and can be accessed by the mother while nursing and without removing the device, thus providing privacy. The mother also has both hands free for use during nursing, as no need exists to hold the screen in place. Finally, the screen 10 can convert to a baby blanket to be used when the mother is not nursing making our device more versatile.

A typical embodiment of the nursing screen may be worn or draped on a nursing mother, and alternatively used by a baby as a blanket. The nursing screen is comprised of textile fabric with a weight 12 that may preferably be removed from a self-closing pocket 11 for washing. The weighted end of the screen is placed over the shoulder of the mother to hold the screen in place while breast feeding. The weight 12 is preferably removable from the self closing pocket 11 so that the screen can be used as a baby blanket. Various types of closure means may be used for the pockets, including buttons, hook and loop fasteners, zippers, snap means, etc. If not removable, the weight may be sewn into the pocket for permanent use.

During use, the mother puts on the nursing screen 10 by placing the weighted pocket side over her shoulder, thus providing the screen with security from slipping and exposing the mother's breasts. The rest of the textile screen 10 drapes over the mother's arms and chest for privacy. The weight need only be of such mass as to retain the screen in place over the user's shoulder.

The mother then places her hand under the screen 10 in order to place her nipple into the child's mouth for feeding. One or more additional pockets 13 may be provided which are suitable for storage of nursing accessories or baby items (nursing pads, pacifier, tissue).

When the mother is not nursing, the weight 12 may preferably be removed (if in a pocket that permits its removal) and the screen 10 used as a baby blanket to keep the baby warm or to provide security to a baby, etc. The nursing screen can be used as protection for clothing when burping the baby and preventing saliva or spit-up from staining one's clothes. It can be used as a play pad for the baby to lie on when placed over carpet or grass. It can be used as a shading device, or as a wind protection device by draping it over or near the desired object to be protected, such as the baby. It can be used as a changing pad for changing baby's diaper or clothing.

Thus, it is apparent that the nursing screen provides a reliable, ventilated, lightweight, transportable, easy-to-use, multi-functional device that can be used by breast feeding mothers in public.

Furthermore, the nursing screen has the additional advantages in that:

(1) No special clothing is required to use this apparatus in public;

(2) It requires no straps or clips that can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, or disruptive to hair or clothing;

(3) It can store baby items or items necessary during breast feeding (i.e., nursing pads, pacifier, tissue);

(4) It is lightweight and easily transportable in a diaper bag or purse;

(5) It can be machine washed without the need for dry cleaning;

(6) It can easily be manufactured in many fashionable colors and types of fabric;

(7) It permits the production of the screen without requiring the manufacturer to use a complex pattern; and

(8) It easily converts to a blanket when the mother is not nursing making it multi-functional, easier to carry than multiple items, and more economical than purchasing multiple items.

Although the description above describes several embodiments, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments thereof. Many variations are possible.

For example, the nursing screen can be produced using a variety of fabrics without limitation (such as cotton or cotton blends, etc), be formed of different shapes (such as triangular, rectangular, square, etc.), have more or less pockets, and have different uses such as a blanket or play pad. While it is advantageous for the pocket(s) to be placed in a corner of the screen, the pocket for use with a weight may be placed with advantage along an edge of the screen at a location between adjacent corners. Further, multiple pockets for holding a weight may also be employed if so desired. If multiple pockets are so employed, such pockets would, of course, be located along the same side of the privacy screen.

If so desired, weights may be placed at opposing corners of the privacy screen in suitable pockets. In such an instance, a bib-like configuration for the privacy screen may be employed, with weighted portions being placed over each shoulder of the mother while nursing. In such an instance, it may be useful to provide a cut-out portion intermediate such weighted corners to permit the side of the privacy screen intermediate the weighted portions to extend more easily around the neck of the mother (such as, for example, a semi-circular cut-out portion).

The weight may also be any configuration suitable to be retained in the pocket 11. A triangular-shaped weight as shown in FIG. 3 may be employed with advantage. The weight may also be rubber or fabric-covered with advantage, although any type of covering will be acceptable as long as the weight may be safely used upon contact with an infant.

Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given herein.