Marie-Claire Springham is a British-American product designer who is creating a kit that will allow fathers to "chestfeed" their children.
Springham told BuzzFeed her idea originated from a desire to address issues that surround mental health and becoming a new parent. "A common trigger of postnatal depression for mothers is the pressure to breastfeed, even when it is difficult and stressful to do so. I developed this kit to help couples support each other, as well as their new baby," she said.
The father-to-be would first take a prenatal course about "chestfeeding." She said, "He would then receive an NHS-branded box containing a chest pump, compression vest, informative flyer, and all of the necessary hormones for him to lactate and 'chestfeed' his child."
Springham said the hormones fathers would take are very safe. "None of the hormones cross the blood-brain barrier, so they can be safely taken when breastfeeding. As far as we know, if a man were to stop taking the supplements then, like a woman, their body would eventually rebalance and return to its prior state."
Springham said there's been a variety of reactions about her product. "For some, it’s the end of the world as we know it, whilst I’ve also been flooded with requests from new or expecting dads wanting to take part in medical trials."
"What it is to be a father has changed so much, even just in my lifetime. Yet the media does not update images of parenthood. The focus has always been on the intimacy between the mother and baby. I don’t think it’s because intimacy between fathers and babies doesn’t exist. It’s just depicted less, and it’s difficult for new fathers when there aren’t that many role models," Springham said.
As far as a timeline for when the product would be accessible to the public, Springham said it all depends on trials. "This product is so new that there are plenty of steps to take before it would be available for purchase."