As we are approach World’s Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th of August), the UK Hub celebrates infant nurturing with new designs addressed to nurturing parents and carers. Infant feeding support is vital to parents across the world. Infant feeding includes breastfeeding, bottle feeding, chestfeeding (for post-op transmen) and the diverse existing forms of childcare. Awareness-raising and effective infrastructural is necessary to support to parents and their families, ensuring their access to dignified safe spaces.

Barriers to infant feeding are still an issue, which can prevent parents from doing it in public. Travel with infants can be complex and tiring, for adults and children alike. Travel environments are seldom relaxing, space is often limited, heavily populated and incumbent on transience rather than brief occupancy. There is arguably a need for a space that supports nourishment. Not just a minimally suitable space but a space that supports this care relationship at times of stress. The NurturepodTM aims to provide a safe nurturing inclusive space for all, recognising the diversity existing in the act of infant nurturing for carers, wet nurses, as well as pre and post-op transmen parents – all and any familial and non-familial configuration involved in caring.

Inspired by a sketch of 2 acorns and the concept of protection afforded by natural forms, the NurturepodTM is an infant feeding space for displacement locations such as airport lounges. Designed to comfort the travelling family, the pod design gives a degree of control, dignity and privacy, safety, warmth and kindness. The NurturepodTM system is designed to be configured for solo installation or as a growing forest, offering tranquillity and removal from distractions. In this space, the focus is on the child, the moment, and the calm. The system has been designed with a strong core, a warmth of touch and a gentle aesthetic that offers a temporary solace amidst the crowds.

The idea originated in the autoethnographic work conducted as part of the AHRC Wemobile project, led by Professor Andree Woodcock at the Research Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities. The concept design was created by Paul Magee, Senior Designer at the Centre for Intelligent Healthcare. Paul has a background of developing market ready solutions to assistive technology needs, personal mobility and an experience of designing large scale installations for exhibitions.

Moreover, the UK Hub is currently conducting ethnographic qualitative research on experiences of infant nurturing in public spaces and public transportation. Study using semantic analysis of social media, methods like focus groups, in-depth interviews and co-design workshops will bring together parents from minority ethnic groups and practitioners working in diverse communities to inform future designs. The findings will make unique contributions to the scarce literature on infant nurturing and parent’s mobility. Additionally, it will extend conceptual design work in product/space/transport design more broadly through intersectional analysis of the relationships between experience, embodiment, intimacy, and urban subjectivity.

NurturepodTM  Registration number:       6083544

NurturepodTM  Trademark numbers:  UK00003467012 / UK00003467018

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