At Best Beginnings we take an evidence based approach to identifying, evidencing and sharing best practice.

We continually evaluate the impact of our resources and apply this learning to the development of existing and future resources. As well as commissioning academic evaluations of our interventions, we commission and undertake independent and impartial market research that helps inform the design development and forward planning of our resources.

Here we share the impact of our NHS approved, RCM, RCOG, RCPCH, RCPsych and CPHVA endorsed Baby Buddy app.

A sophisticated analytics tool behind Baby Buddy allows us to track uptake and usage by locality, age, gender, ethnicity, language, education, employment and training. It also allows us to identify which videos Baby Buddy users are watching, what questions they’re asking and which features they are using, as an anonymised data set.

We feed this rich data into detailed reports for our Public Health Commissioners to measure the reach and impact of Baby Buddy. Pop-up in-app questionnaires capture what pregnant women and new mothers think of Baby Buddy.

WHAT OUR USERS SAY

Read here what our users say about Baby Buddy.

UK wide Pregnant women and new mums & Dads and Partners report the following about Baby Buddy:

  • Easy to use: >99% (n=16,319) >98% (n=428)
  • Easy to understand: >99% (n=16,224) >99% (n=421)
  • Helps me get more out of my appointments: 85% (n=8542) 89% (n=745)
  • Helps me look after my mental health: 88% (n=5659) 88% (n=548)
  • Helps me look after my physical health: 90% (n=5748) 88% (n=566)
  • Helps me feel closer to my baby: 89% (n=4466) 92% (n=415)
  • Helps me feel more confident caring for my baby: 98% (n=4245) 97% (n=135)

(Data from completed pop-up in-app surveys to 29/2/2020)

Baby Buddy embedding and training impact

The process of 'embedding' involves training local professional and community champions to use Baby Buddy as a tool to support their work with parents. Data shows that embedding is successful. It also ensures that parents of all backgrounds know use Baby Buddy, allowing Baby Buddy to have more impact. Learn more about how to embed Baby Buddy in your area.

17 local authorities have 25% or more of their parents using Baby Buddy.

TOP SITES USING BABY BUDDY IN ENGLAND TO END OF MARCH 2020

#1 Darlington  57% of birth cohort

#2 Telford and Wrekin 44.04% of birth cohort

#3 Shropshire 38.3% of birth cohort

Total registrations of Baby Buddy across the UK to end February 2020 = 273,541

Proportionate Universalism in action

Evidence shows that in order for a public health intervention to be effective, it must be universal (it should support the wider population) but delivery should be scaled to serve those who would benefit the most.  

Children who are at risk of poorer outcomes are those whose parents are under 25 (Black and White British) and those from Black and ethnic minorities. Baby Buddy is designed to support all parents of all backgrounds and especially considers the needs of parents whose first language might not be English, who may have an age 11 literacy level and who have very limited resources.

Analytics show that our approach is working with families who are at highest risk of poor outcomes are over-represented amongst Baby Buddy users.

While 3.2% of pregnant mothers in the UK are teenagers (ONS DATA),
7.2% of mothers using Baby Buddy are teenagers

While 5.63% of mothers speak 20 of the top non English languages in the UK,
9.45% of Baby Buddy users do not speak English as their first language

While 3.3% of mothers are Black,
5.15% of Baby Buddy users are Black

While 7.5% of mothers are Asian (including Chinese)
8.35% of Baby Buddy users are Chinese

BABY BUDDY USAGE

Levels of app usage (open the app to use any feature) per year.

Extremely high usage: 251+ times. Very high usage:101-250 times. High usage: 46-100 times

Moderate usage: 26-45 times

OF Black and Ethnic minority Baby Buddy users

97% are moderately to extremely active users

OF all Baby Buddy users who are under 25 years

68%  are moderately to extremely active users

Research and Evaluations

What follows below are details of independent academic evaluations of Baby Buddy:

The Bumps and BaBies Longitudinal Study (BaBBLeS)
A multi-site cohort study of first-time mothers to evaluate the effectiveness of the Baby Buddy app (Deave et al., 2019)

This study exploring the impact of the Baby Buddy app on parenting self-efficacy and wellbeing found that:

  • No impact on parental self-efficacy using the validated tool (TOPSE)
  • At 1 week, 1 month and at 3 months post-birth
    • Baby Buddy users were 12% more likely to report in any breastfeeding
    • And 9% more likely to report exclusive breastfeeding
  • At 1 month post-birth, Baby Buddy users were 17.1% more likely to report breastfeeding and this was statistically significant
  • Baby Buddy app users felt they had less social support than non-users, suggesting that the app appeals more to those most in need.

Full report here.


Self Care Project for Parents
using Just One Norfolk website and the Baby Buddy app (Eastern AHSN and the University of Essex, 2020)

An evaluation of a project using the Just One Norfolk website and the Baby Buddy app to promote self-care amongst parents found that:

  • Parents using the website and Baby Buddy showed improvements in self-care (measured by the Patient Activation Measure)
  • The average activation score increased by 3.8 points for parents using the website: this increase was not statistically significant
  • The average self-care score increased by 5.6 points for parents using the Baby Buddy app. This increase was statistically significant (p<0.01)
  • Study limitations such as a small sample size and lack of control conditions means that these finding should be interpreted with caution. 

Full report here


The North of England Study
Evaluation of Best Beginnings Resources (Crossland et al., 2019)
An evaluation of the Best Beginnings' resources (the Baby Buddy app, Baby Express magazine and from Bump to Breastfeeding DVD) found that:
  • Baby Buddy significantly improves mother to infant bonding
  • Women using the Best Beginnings resources at two of the sites reported higher rates of breastfeeding, although this was not statistically significant. 
  • The resources were felt to have helped increase knowledge, build confidence and support relationship-building.

Smartphone applications available to pregnant women in the United Kingdom: An assessment of nutritional information (Bland et al., 2019) 

An assessment of the information about nutrition in apps available to pregnant women in the UK found that:

  • There is large variability in the quality of nutritional information in apps
  • Only two UK based apps, Emma's Diary and Baby Buddy, fulfilled all accountability criteria and contained no inaccurate information

Full report here.


The North of England Study
Embedding supportive parenting resources into maternity and early years care pathways: a mixed methods evaluation (Crossland et al., 2019)

An evaluation of Best Beginnings approach to embedding resources into local care pathways found that:

  • Women and health professionals held positive views of the resources
  • The resources were particularly seen as a beneficial aid for families
  • Embedding models are necessary to successfully introduce digital resources into maternity and early years pathways

Full report here.


The Baby Buddy app: Tackling inequalities in breastfeeding in the UK using a cultural lens
(Perera & Papain, pending publication)An exploratory study of the uptake of Baby Buddy app and its impact on breastfeeding found that: 
  • The second most searched term within the app is Breastfeeding
  • 98% of pregnant and new mums said that the app is helping them feel more confident to take care of their baby
  • 24.7% of Baby Buddy users are from minority ethnic groups
  • Ethnicity alone was not a determinant of breastfeeding status
  • First language and occupation is a stronger determinant of breastfeeding status 

An evaluation of Baby Buddy m-health intervention with a focus on the Guys and St. Thomas' Trust pilot embedding site (Canterbury Christ Church University, June 2016)

The study compared Baby Buddy user data and survey responses from the Guys and St. Thomas' site to national data gathered between 2014 and 2016 and found that:

  • Women both nationally and in at the site, viewed Baby Buddy favourable in terms of it being easy-to-use, fun, interesting and with content that is easy to understand. 
  • Midwives reman the single biggest source of information about Baby Buddy.