The idea of nursing in public isn’t outrageous, though the topic still spurs on heated discussions (free all the nipples, I say). However, whether a mom prefers to nurse in public or in private, the fact is that many public spaces still lack the infrastructure to accommodate the needs of mothers and growing babies. In an effort to empower women to breastfeed however they wish and provide them with more choices, Ivana Preiss (Design Strategy Director at Prague-based consultancy 52Hours), her partner and creative director Filip Vasic, and industrial designer Nikola Knezevic designed Heer, the world’s first ergonomically-designed bench that enables mothers to comfortably breastfeed in public.
Designed for airports, shopping centers, parks – basically anywhere babies could be hungry –, the Heer rotates (so that moms can find the best position to suit their preferences), rocks (to comfort babies), and offers privacy, should the mom prefer it. The Heer isn’t completely closed off which allows moms to stay present in her environment. The bench half of the Heer is intended for company and other public users.
Although some may interpret this design as a creation that reinforces the stigma that mothers should hide and cover themselves up when they nurse, the designers assure that this is not the case. Though they may share a similar connection, one mom’s viewpoint on breastfeeding isn’t the same as another mom’s, so the Heer provides an additional choice for mothers who feel like they don’t have options in public spaces.
As for the name and where it came from? It answers question, “Where can I breastfeed?” Heer.
Photos by Marija Gašparović.