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The Breastfeeding Bench Looking To Take Over The World’s Public Spaces

Written by Sara Langer

Photography by Photographed by Marija Gašparović

Most breastfeeding moms have probably had the experience of searching for a suitable place to nurse (or pump) when they’re out and about, especially in busy places like airports, shopping centers, or in the middle of the city. And, if Prague-based design agency 52Hours has its way, the answer to every woman’s conundrum would come in the form of heer, a.k.a. “the world’s first ergonomically designed bench for mothers to comfortably breastfeed in public.”

Ivana Preiss, the Design Strategy Director at 52Hours says that “the idea for heer [pronounced like “here”] first came to us when we witnessed a mother being shamed for breastfeeding in a public place. We thought the solution must be in design.” Preiss’ partner and creative director Filip Vasic joined forces with Nikola Knezevic, an award-winning industrial designer from Belgrade, to create heer as the first-of-its-kind breastfeeding bench.

The soft pink color and minimal, sleek design is very intentional. The pod-like features of the chair provide some privacy as well as creating a sense of calm and quiet for a baby in a busy and loud place. The chair swivels and tilts in order to provide a range of positions (check out the video and images in our slideshow below) and the adjacent attached bench provides room for other people to sit.

“Although breastfeeding in public is becoming increasingly accepted, for various cultural, psychological, or other reasons, many mothers still feel uneasy about it,” says Preiss. “On the other hand, the places purposed for breastfeeding are rare, poorly designed, isolated and uncomfortable. Above all, they practically reinforce the exclusion of mothers.”

While some may argue that heer is reinforcing the idea that women need privacy to breastfeed or that it is not normal to publicly breastfeed in plain sight of others, the design team claims it is simply trying to offer more options for women and babies to feel comfortable. “Our approach is practical, not ideological. We are not deciding whether mothers should breastfeed in public spaces or not,” says Preiss. “Of course, they should breastfeed wherever and however they wish. What we are trying to offer is a choice to those mothers who currently feel they don’t have it. We are aware that social norms and habits can’t change overnight. In that sense, we see our product as one of the steps towards breaking the stigma.”

Would you like to see more heer benches in public spaces? You can request one for your city over at inviteheer.com.

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