"Tell them to have chocolate raisins first. Get a relationship with them -- then you can talk spinach."
This advice was from an old tutor of mine who worked with teenagers in one of the most deprived areas of the country.
Chocolate raisins might not sound ideal diet advice but compared to the chips, coke and cigarettes many of her clients were living on, they're an iron-rich superfood. And they were a gateway drug to other fruit and veg.
You have to go to where clients are and be with them. This should be a midwifery mantra.
That’s why I was so thrilled when I came across this 'Baby Buddy' App, made by the charity ‘Best Beginnings’:
I’ll give you the details on what the app does, and why I think it's such a game changer (to quote the RCM) but first I wanted to ask, have you ever come across this charity before?
‘Best Beginnings’ has caught my eye. Midwives and other professionals do an amazing job caring for vulnerable women, but the truth is sometimes we have our hands tied by policy and funding.
Best Beginnings addresses areas we can't always get to head on, by making resources, for instance by making these kinds of films for families with premature babies.
It was started by Alison Baum (who I actually met today). She's one of those superhuman OBE type women with a million MAs and degrees in different interesting subjects.
Best Beginnings has even lobbied for the Breastfeeding Manifesto, with UNICEF and the Royal Colleges - and all this with just seven employees - supporting women, and midwifery, staying on the edge of innovation.
Here’s a clip from the App:
As you can see, it’s not just midwifery info, there’s emotional support too.
The app has a useful piece of advice or quote for them every day, which is about the part of pregnancy or postnatal period they’re at.
They can also search the archive, and the info they get is high quality, but also very tactical/truthful in the way it engages with them.
For instance, on morning sickness:
‘You can make yourself feel slightly less awful by:
Getting up slow and eating a plain biscuit....The only good thing about morning sickness is that it tells you your hormones are doing their thing and your baby is growing.’
Whereas in comparison the NHS website says:
‘If you have morning sickness, your midwife will initially recommend that you try a number of changes to your diet and daily life. …Symptoms should ease as your pregnancy progresses.’
I know some will argue technology should never replace midwifery care but I'd argue it's just a fantastic adjunct which will help with current midwifery challenges.
The info in the app was informed by doctors, midwives and others to support care, not to replace it. It also has "remember to ask"’ prompts, encouraging clients to ask important questions at appointments.
And today, the average pregnant woman will be using her phone to find information.
Overall the app is incredibly evidence based well researched and puts everything into a format that anyone can understand. Which is a real achievement - and much, much harder than it looks.
Getting onto a client's wavelength is not always easy, or even possible, when you only have 10 minutes and it might be the first and last time you meet.
This app is written in a way which communicates to women that they are important.
To quote Ina May Gaskin:
'When we as a society begin to value mothers as the givers and supporters of life, then we will see social change in ways that matter.'
I think the Baby Buddy app is part of this social change for the better.
The app will take you about thirty seconds to download and set up. There's an option to log in as a healthcare professional, though you'll see the same stuff as clients. The option is just to help the charity log users (they can secure funding etc. through this.)
If you think it's any good you can recommend it to clients.
Now...I'd love to hear what you think
- Do you have insights on the app to share?
- Are you a midwife already using the app with clients? Can you give your professional opinion?
As always, thanks so much for reading, and for the insightful comments that people are leaving.
It gives me loads of encouragement and reflection that I really love - can't believe we're up to 5000+ subscribers, it blows me away as MidwifeDiaries has been going for years and is suddenly getting a lot of supporters... I'm so grateful for every single read of a post 🙂