Want to Get Inside Baby’s Head? There May Be an App for That Soon

Researchers from the University of York have designed an app to help parents become more “tuned in” to what their babies are thinking. Appropriately titled BabyMind, it prompts parents to think about things from their baby’s perspective, and to consider what’s going on in their baby’s mind at a specific point each day, according to a news release from University of York. It’ll even provide parents with accurate information on babies’ psychological development. That’s modern-day parenting for you.

Although moms and dads have their share of parenting apps to choose from, how effective they are is the real question. “There are many advantages of using apps as a means of intervention—they’re low-cost, easy to use and already integrated into people’s lives,” explains Elizabeth Meins, professor at the University of York’s department of psychology. “But we wanted to establish whether an app can have a demonstrable effect on the quality of parent–baby interaction.”

In order to further investigate this topic, the team recruited a group of mothers who started using the ap as soon as their babies were born, and followed up with each of them when their babies were six months old. Researchers watched to see how parents played with their babies, and assessed how attuned they were to their babies’ thoughts and feelings based on that evidence.

The mothers were then compared against a control group of mothers with babies who were also six months old, but 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.

The study included a range of mothers, and showed that young mothers specifically benefited from using the app. “Our study showed that young mothers who had used BabyMind were just as attuned as the older mothers who’d used the app,” Meins says. “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.”

Entering into that beautiful but bizarre phase called motherhood is a big adjustment for first-time moms. You can read all the parenting books under the sun, but the truth is, the only way you’ll really learn the ropes is by living through it. Which is why anything that may help that’s also easy to use and cost-efficient is a major win. If the BabyMind app is really as effective as they say, we can only hope it rolls out to consumers around the world who are navigating the world of parenthood.

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