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  • Would You Sign Up for an App That Tells You What Your Baby Thinks or Feel?

    Smartphone apps make moms’ lives easier, but nothing can replace the attention a mother gives her baby.
    by Rachel Perez .
Would You Sign Up for an App That Tells You What Your Baby Thinks or Feel?
PHOTO BY IStock
  • Everything now seems to be connected to our phones, and you can shop, order food, book a flight, and more. The smartphone has become a way of life because of convenience, and it is the perfect distraction. But smartphone apps aren’t all aimed to entertain or kill time.

    Companies have embraced the technology to help parents track baby milestones, breastfeeding feeds, nappy changes, sleep, and even monitor heart rate, oxygen level, and other vital signs.

    But what if a smartphone baby app could tell you what’s going on in your baby’s mind and how they feel? That was what researchers from the University of York attempted to do with BabyMind, an app that prompts parents to see the situation in the perspective of their baby, helping them consider what’s going on in their child’s mind at specific times of the day. It also provides parents with accurate information on babies’ psychological development.

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    BabyMind is less about the baby’s physical health and more of a baby may be feeling or thinking. “We wanted to establish whether an app can have a demonstrable effect on the quality of parent-baby interaction,” explains Elizabeth Meins, professor at the University of York’s department of psychology, in a press release.

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    To test the app, the researchers recruited a group of moms who started to use the app as soon as their babies were born. The researchers observed the parents playing with their babies and assessed how attuned they were to their babies’ thoughts and feelings. The mothers were compared against a control group of mothers with 6-month-olds who had not used the app. Compared with the control group mothers, the app users were significantly more attuned to their babies’ thoughts and feelings, according to the university’s press release.

    The study included a wide age range of mothers, and the results for teenage mothers were particularly interesting. Professor Meins explained, “Previous research has shown that teenage mothers show less attunement to their babies’ thoughts and feelings compared with mothers in their mid-twenties or older. Our study showed that young mothers who had used BabyMind were just as attuned as the older mothers who’d used the app.

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    “Even more impressive was the fact that the young app users were more attuned to their babies than the older mothers who had not used the BabyMind app. This suggests that using our app is associated with younger motherhood no longer being a disadvantage.”

    The press release, however, did not mention how the app works. It did not spell out what it means when it says it helped parents become more attuned. There is no way of testing it either because the BabyMind app has not been rolled-out in Apple Store or Google Play.

    To have an app that tells you what your baby is feeling, however, would be a godsend and maybe even save us from trips to the emergency room trips. But don't rely too much on apps because they can make you worry incessantly.

    The fool-proof way, if there is one, to be more attuned to your baby is to observe, play and spend time with him! After every misstep along the way, you learn, adjust, and discover you and your baby will be all right. Give him your undivided attention when he needs it — get to know your child! Soon, you will know the rhythm of their breathing and what their different cries mean.

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    Yes, apps can help, but there’s no substituting the real thing — your instinct, moms! If you really want to know how your baby is doing, don’t pick up your phone. Spend time with your baby.

    Learn how this mom used four apps to help her with her four-month-old baby here.

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