How it all began
I didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an inventor. I was creative and studied at Hornsey College of Art in the United Kingdom, followed by a degree in graphic design from Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. But the drive to create products that solve problems was in my blood. The metamorphosis from graphic designer to inventor took place after our third child, Emily, arrived in 1980. She was born with Stickler’s Syndrome and among other problems, had severe difficulty feeding. After four months with a nasogastric tube, it was essential that she start feeding orally to be discharged from hospital. No available bottles worked, so I had to improvise. In my case, necessity really was the mother of invention. When Emily was two years old, I started developing my improvised prototype into a marketable product which became known as the Haberman Feeder. Initially sold by mail-order from my kitchen table, it has now been used for over 35 years in hospitals around the world to help babies with feeding difficulties and improve their families’ quality of life.
All my subsequent inventions have begun with the identification of a problem that needs solving. For example, with three small children I was well aware of the inadequacy of trainer cups. Drinks spilled, making puddles and stains everywhere. I spent half my life mopping floors! Watching someone else’s toddler run across a friend’s cream carpet, leaving a trail of blackcurrant juice in her wake was the inspiration for another invention, the Anywayup® Cup, which seals automatically as soon as it leaves a child’s mouth.
My latest invention is the Haberman Suckle Feeder. This, too, was a response to an identified problem: medical research has proven that babies fed by bottle with breast milk or formula are at significantly increased risk of developing obesity in later life.
Self-regulation of appetite is established very early on in life. Bottle feeding typically causes over-feeding and compromises self-regulation, setting a lifetime pattern for over-eating. By 26 weeks of age, 99 percent of babies in the United Kingdom will be using a bottle at least some of the time, so it was important to find a solution. That is why we came up with the Haberman Suckle Feeder. It is designed to emulate breastfeeding, enable naturally paced feeding and reduce the long-term health risk factors for obesity, heart disease and diabetes associated with other bottle-feeders.
The buzz of invention
Reaching a simple and...