Nav: Home

Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost

December 22, 2019

Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.

The objective approach of most infant feeding (IF) apps gives mothers a perception of greater control, confidence and efficiency at a time of transition and stress in the early stages of parenting an infant, the study found.

However, with more than 100 such apps available, the mobile content can also present new mums with another set of potential worries, including feeling overwhelmed by the information, concerns about over-reliance on the app, and even questioning the app's advice.

Overall the women interviewed in the study were positive about using such apps, says senior researcher Dr Jacqueline Miller, an expert in paediatric nutrition.

"Some apps provide information that is not always accurate and can't be tailored to the individual," she warns. "Information stored in the app can provide a useful history to discuss with health care providers who can then provide much more individualised advice, particularly with breastfeeding."

These targeted mobile apps can take the guesswork out of parenting.

"They are increasingly giving mothers a modern way of tracking aspects of baby care, including feeding regularly, sleep, growth and nappy changes," she says.

"A generation ago we used a safety pin to remind themselves which side to start feeding on. But these days we use apps to record all sorts of facts," Dr Miller says.

National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines in Australia recommend exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months.

Community and health professional support is important for maternal decisions, with self and social perceptions, lifestyle choices as well as physical and psychological issues also playing a part, says Dr Carly Moores, who also contributed to the study.

Another co-author Kaitlyn Dienelt, who conducted detailed interviews with nine nursing mothers using eight different IF apps in South Australia over 12 months, says the study demonstrates how important the mobile apps can be in making mums feel encouraged and supported in their breastfeeding practices.

"This technology is helping mothers with everyday routines and decision-making which can be tiring and sometimes complex with breastfeeding - although some mobile apps are better than others."

"Overall, the participants were positive and some even felt they would have given up on breastfeeding without the app," she says.

"In a growing world of technology, studies like this are is important in shaping future research in providing the best health and self-management information via mobile devices to the wider population."

In one of the first studies of its kind, the study led by Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences nutrition and dietetics experts sought to analyse the experience of mothers, the suitability of information and readability of the app material from an outside perspective.

With more than 100 apps to assist optimal infant feeding available on the market, many are free with in-app purchases, or some purchased of premium versions of free IF apps.

The mobile health app market is booming, expected to exceed $US30 billion by 2020. The World Health Organisation has forecast that mHealth apps will have a myriad of uses includes interventions and behaviour change, disease or condition self-management, data monitoring and e-information provision.
-end-
The article, 'An investigation into the use of infant feeding tracker apps by breastfeeding mothers' (2019) by K Dienelt, CJ Moores, J Miller and K Mehta has been published in Health Informatics Journal (Sage Publishing) DOI: 10.1177/1460458219888402

Flinders University

Related Breastfeeding Articles:

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.
Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.
Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.
Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.
Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.
New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.
Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.
Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.
Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).
WHO study confirms breastfeeding protects against child obesity, however levels of breastfeeding across Europe are well off-target
New research from WHO published at this month's European Congress on Obesity shows that babies who are never or only partially breast fed have an increased risk of becoming obese as children compared to babies who are exclusively breastfed.
More Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Uncounted
First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.