Best start : Giving first time mothers the best start in breastfeeding

University essay from Umeå universitet/Designhögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Author: Natalie Vanns; [2015]

Keywords: breastfeeding; bottle feeding; mother; baby;


In the UK, only 1% of babies are exclusively breastfed to six months: this is one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the developed world. In response, trials have been set up to financially incentivize mothers to breastfeed for longer. However, we also know that 80% of women who stop breastfeeding in the first 1-2 weeks wanted to continue for longer: they are already incentivized to keep going.

This project asks: what if health services invested in promoting breastfeeding more at the start, giving mothers the knowledge, support, and tools they need to continue, instead of incentivizing women at the end? The research methodology started with academic, expert and user research both qualitatively and quantitatively to gain insight and establish the design opportunity. The design direction was developed iteratively with sketches and prototypes, and continued user testing to reach the design solution.


The result of the project is a new service called best start, which addresses the issues mothers face throughout breastfeeding. The service helps to prepare and educate mothers during pregnancy, assists them through the crucial first weeks of breastfeeding, and supports them to the six-month milestone and beyond. Emphasis is placed on involving and educating the mother’s immediate family support network, and building her local peer support. The best start kit gives every mother the essentials to get started, and provides tangible tools to explain the key educational concepts to boost her knowledge to continue breastfeeding confidently.

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