New parents in County Durham can get tips and advice on bringing up baby via their mobile phone, thanks to a free app.
Baby Buddy features daily facts, videos and useful information aimed specifically at the individual user.
Parents and parents-to-be can also use it to keep track of medical appointments, locate nearby services and even create a time lapse video of their growing bump and baby.
Durham County Council has commissioned national charity Best Beginnings, which developed the app, to work with health professionals to promote it within the county. This will include midwives, maternity care assistants from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, and health visitors from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, who provide the County Durham Growing Healthy service, as well as peer supporters and children’s centre workers
It is hoped that encouraging people to use the app will create better informed and more confident parents, which should, in turn, improve breastfeeding rates and increase the number of parents who attend ante and postnatal medical appointments.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “The impact of providing support, information and guidance to families so early in a child’s life cannot be underestimated and is critical to their health and wellbeing as they grow and develop.
“Although its content will be useful for all new parents, it is hoped that Baby Buddy will particularly to those parents who are less likely to ask for support or guidance, giving us a unique chance to engage with them.
“I’m sure that having something that can offer information any time of the day or night will prove invaluable to new parents.”
Allison Metters, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust matron for community midwifery, said: “The Baby Buddy app is a wonderful way to give expectant and new mothers information at their fingertips, via their mobile phones.
“We’re delighted to be sharing it with ladies in our care and think it will be of great use to them, their partners and families – and so convenient. Most importantly, the advice on the app is from professionals, presented in a friendly, accessible format.”
Baby Buddy users can use the app to create their own avatar, set goals and record their thoughts and feelings.