Best Beginnings Engagement Lead Yasmin Morgan shares how the discovery of using our Baby Buddy app to support her as a first-time mum, led to her joining our charity.

"As a first-time parent, I experienced that there was no shortage of advice available about parenting. Between best-selling pregnancy and parenting books, well-meaning family members and friends, “super-nanny” figures and even random strangers on the street, I was given plenty of advice and tips to consider. Trying to make sense of all the information that came my way was a formidable task, and it was difficult to know whose advice to take and who’s to (respectfully) disregard. I found peace of mind using the Baby Buddy app. In comparison to other pregnancy apps, it is accredited by the NHS, and endorsed and trusted by health professionals. This reassured me that any information communicated via the app was reliable and accurate.  

I fell pregnant and gave birth to my son during the global Covid-19 pandemic; both events taking place whilst the country was in lockdown. Never could I have imagined starting my pregnancy experience/journey in this complicated manner – Nothing could have prepared me for this. Even under normal circumstances, pregnancy and parenting, whilst exciting, can also be stressful, exhausting and overwhelming. Having my son amid the Covid-19 pandemic, I experienced hospital lockdowns, health and safety precautions and fears, social distancing, attending antenatal appointments and scans alone. This combination of experiences created the perfect storm of feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety. During this complex and challenging time, Baby Buddy was a digital support and life line. It guided me throughout my pregnancy and following my son’s birth.  

Using the Baby Buddy app built my confidence and helped me adjust to life with a new born, offering useful tips and support. As a first time Mum, I was not confident that I knew how to care for a new born. I sought advice via the Baby Buddy app by reading and watching videos on topics like, how do I bathe my baby, how do I change a dirty nappy, how do I soothe my teething baby or how do I look after my baby’s umbilical cord. 

Baby Buddy offers a range of videos that reflect families of all backgrounds and nationalities. It means that there is a range and mix of diverse voices and faces to be seen and heard. And with over 100 short video clips of parents sharing their own stories and professionals sharing advice via the app, I never felt alone on my pregnancy and parenting journey.  

One day, I was contacted by Best Beginnings and asked if I would consider speaking at their Surrey Roundtable events. These meetings were organised by the charity to bring families and professionals together from across Surrey. We discuss how and what information was being offered to parents during their pregnancy and through to their little ones first year, and more importantly, how the Baby Buddy app could be used to improve families experiences. I enthusiastically agreed to share my experience of using the Baby Buddy app, and spoke about the difference it made when I was pregnant and as a new Mum. This opportunity led to other projects, I went on to record a podcast with Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom as a parent voice, discussing ‘The best start for life: a vision for the 1,001 critical days’ government report. 

During this period, I connected with Best Beginnings Head of Engagement, Agnes Agyepong and joined the organisation’s Parent Panel. When I was a member of the Parent Panel, I had regular interactions with members of the Best Beginnings team. Through the richness of our conversations, I was offered more opportunities to be involved with the charity’s projects. A role within the Engagement team became available and I put myself forward for it. I could have never anticipated from using the Baby Buddy app and becoming a Parent Panel member, it would lead me to be in the position I am in now, working for Best Beginnings as an Engagement Lead. My role largely involves overseeing the Parent Panel and connecting with parents and caregivers. Most days I speak with parents, building relationships with them and writing case studies on their experiences. 

My aim within my role is to grow and strengthen the relationships we have with parents and caregivers. I want to actively engage and support mothers, fathers, co-parents and caregivers of different abilities, geographies, income-brackets, and ethnic backgrounds across the country. The Parent Panel is the ‘heartbeat’ of the charity. Parents and caregivers on the Panel shape the work that we do, they are the 'voice' of our resources, particularly with our Baby Buddy app. I aim to be in a position where I can amplify their voices and pass on their feedback and insights to policy makers and the NHS system. My hope that by doing this, it will drive change, improve healthcare practices and outcomes. "