OHSU # 2986 — Koala Kushion: an improved feeding positioner for infants
Reflux or feeding difficulties are common for infants, causing significant stress to parents and the prescription of unneeded medications. Oregon Health & Science University healthcare professionals have developed the Koala Kushion, a positioner designed specifically to make feeding infants, with and without reflux, easier.
Reflux is a recurring condition affecting 2.5 million newborn infants each year, where breastmilk or formula are repeatedly spit-up during a critical growth period. This condition has a large impact on the healthcare system by causing parental anxiety, ER visits, and unneeded medications, which in total cost upwards of $12 million dollars per year. This problem is due in part to an unideal feeding angle where infants are fed lying on their backs, which exacerbates reflux symptoms. Existing feeding pillows on the market are designed largely for comfort and to be used with babies on their backs in this suboptimal position. Currently prescribed medications are also largely ineffective, designed to reduce the acidity of the stomach contents but not the reflux itself.
OHSU pediatric feeding specialist Jessica Grant SLP and board certified pediatrician David Sheridan MD have developed the Koala Kushion for to improve feeding positioning for all babies, including those suffering from reflux. Features of the Koala Kushion include:
- Soothing side-laying or belly-down positioning, similar to the over-the-shoulder angle many parents use to comfort babies;
- Upward angle, which demonstrated improved esophageal motility in a small radiology study, and could reduce reflux; and
- Built-in bottle holder, providing an easy-to-use design for parents, grandparents and care-givers.
The Koala Kushion was designed by medical professionals to make feeding babies easier and has market potential as both a direct-to-consumer product and a medical device specifically for the treatment of reflux in hospitals and neonatal clinics.
This technology is available for licensing.