Sleep well, baby: helping new parents in isolation
A new digital app, developed in partnership by UTS, Tresillian and Sleepfit Solutions, is helping struggling parents during the pandemic.
For many new parents, settling and feeding their baby are challenging and often overwhelming tasks.
However, a new digital program is providing specialist information to improve sleep and feeding outcomes for infants, while also supporting parents’ mental health and wellbeing.
Developed by UTS researchers, Tresillian Family Care Centres [opens external site] and Sleepfit Solutions [opens external site], SleepWellBaby is an app designed to digitalise professional support for new parents.
Professor Cathrine Fowler, Tresillian Chair in Child and Family Health at UTS, is leading the research underpinning the development of the app, alongside Professor Doug Elliott and PhD candidate Deborah Stockton, who is Director of Clinical Service Integration at Tresillian.
Professor Fowler says that SleepWellBaby differs from other digital parenting services by catering to the needs of parents.
“From our research, we discovered that parents were looking for evidence-based information that came from a trusted source, like Tresillian, but that they also wanted an app that went beyond a regular service,” she says.
We wanted to implement processes within the app that would identify parents that genuinely needed extra support.
Professor Cathrine Fowler
Tresillian Chair in Child and Family Health
Through an interactive questionnaire, the app screens parents for postnatal depression and related symptoms and provides them with the resources they need to seek further assistance.
“SleepWellBaby is interactive, which is really exciting – parents who are distressed and struggling can use it to get professional help, not just for their baby, but for themselves as well,” says Professor Fowler.
The app has caught the attention of more than just parents – recently, the NSW Government announced a $1.44 million grant to fund free access to SleepWellBaby to help NSW families who are struggling to cope with the stresses of having a new baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over 10,000 families have already downloaded the app, which shows that it has really met a need in the community,” says Professor Fowler.
“Technology is rapidly changing the way things are done, and especially during this time, telehealth means that we can help parents who are at home with their new baby, whether they’re based in metropolitan or rural areas.”
SleepWellBaby [opens external site] is available for download for free from the App store or Google Play.
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