It is well established that breastfeeding or chestfeeding is immensely beneficial to breastfeeding mothers, chestfeeding parents, and infants throughout their life spans. There are wide-ranging and far-reaching benefits of increasing breastfeeding and chestfeeding rates in all areas of the world. Despite the many benefits, rates in the UK remain among the lowest in the world (Renfew et al., 2012). Mainstream British culture and literature position breastfeeding as a personal choice or local issue. However, choosing how to feed a child is not an open and unrestricted choice (Brown, 2021). This illusion of choice is coupled with public health messaging encouraging new mothers and birthing people to exclusively breastfeed or chestfeed their children.
However, parents and infants are surrounded by a systemic and cultural lack of support to do so. In this paper, I argue that it is necessary to expand the field of vision or situation of focus when seeking to understand UK infant feeding practices. I discuss leaky ecological bodies and leaky environmental systems in relation to infant feeding and design. I argue that how infants are fed is a critical issue of planetary health, that issues of planetary health impact infant feeding bodies, and that these relationships are mediated by design.
Keywords: maternal health, parental health, infant health, design and health, breastfeeding, chestfeeding, lactation, leaky bodies, leaky environments, planetary health, human milk