Getting to Know Your Baby

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A ground-breaking smartphone app, designed to help parents interact with their infants, is being developed by Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit (WIFWU). Getting to Know Your Baby is the first app to use the six baby states of consciousness to enable mums and dads to interpret their infants’ subtle cues and bond with their newborns.

It is accompanied by a website for health professionals – and interested parents – with information, videos and tips to help support parents attend to their babies’ emotional wellbeing.

There is a growing body of evidence from a range of disciplines - neuroscience, psychology, biology, physiology - to show that infants who don’t experience a sense of emotional wellbeing are much more likely to experience poor relationships or develop mental health problems later on. However, the challenges faced by new parents juggling changing family relationships, time pressures, poor support networks and tiredness, can mean they sometimes overlook their babies’ emotional needs.

Traditionally the focus has been on physical health growth, feeding and immunisation. Getting to Know Your Baby has been designed to help parents and health professionals know how to develop a baby’s emotional wellbeing.

The app helps parents to observe their babies. It includes short videos of the six states of an infant’s consciousness - deep sleep, light sleep, drowsy sleep, quite alert, unsettled and crying – to help parents identify their own baby’s state and think about what their feelings may be.

There is also information to help parents identify how their baby likes to be soothed, and to recognise their subtle cues, likes and sensitivities. Dr Angela Underdown, WIFWU Deputy Director, said: “The app gets right to the heart of what parents can do to help their baby’s emotional brain develop and to set the thermostat for managing stress. It shows parents watching their baby’s behaviour, wondering about their underlying feeling states and responding with gentle voice, touch and gaze.

"These micro moments of interaction impact on baby’s rapid brain development and, by the time they've reached a year old, this will help to shape the rest of their life. All babies are different and this innovative app encourages parents to watch their own baby’s cues and film interactions so that they can build strong bonds between them. This app puts science behind everyday interactions and shows the amazing work parents and babies do within loving relationships."

Getting to Know Your Baby has been created by WIFWU, which aims to keep professionals updated with latest research into the transition to parenthood and infant mental health so that the best possible support can be offered to families. It is funded by the West Midlands (South) Health Innovation and Education Cluster.

The free app will be available on Android phones with the possibility of it being developed for iPhone at a later date. For further information contact Professor Jane Barlow at