Breastfeeding Support Program
Small World began when we created a technology solution to a problem we were coming up against every day—how to find just what we need, right when we need it.
A new baby is born in Australia every 4 minutes. That’s more than 300,000 babies every year. Surprisingly, breastfeeding isn’t all that easy to do and traditionally young mothers have had the support of older women in their families (mothers, aunties, sisters and grandmothers) to help. Today, families are spread all around the globe, and quite often the family support women have relied on for generations simply isn’t available. Hospital stays are focused on the baby’s delivery and are considerably shorter, with new mothers usually home within two days of giving birth.
This project aims to develop a program in collaboration with the Australian Breastfeeding Association on breastfeeding basics and tutorials using the latest wearable technology from Google. The wearable device displays prompts of key concepts providing direction, and if needed, personalised help from a counsellor is just a video call away. A specially trained counsellor will guide the mother through the breastfeeding process, addressing any specific concerns and questions through a private and secure live video stream. There is no traveling or waiting. The service is on demand when and where it is needed, no matter where the mother is located.
“This would be a fantastic idea for mothers like me who are desperate to breastfeed confidently.
— Sarah Jane Bailey
After receiving support and feedback from around the world, the Team selected five mothers from Victoria to participate in the trial. The team trained the women in the technology during their pregnancies, and visited them after their deliveries to monitor the trial.
The trial ran for a total of eight weeks, and during that time connected all five women with an ABA Counsellor who advised them on breastfeeding technique, as well as common concerns like baby weight and sleeping patterns. At the end of the trial all mothers where able to breastfeed confidently.
Throughout the trial, we continually thrived to improve the support services with home visits, software updates and constant communication for the best feedback from participants.
Meet our mums
The Project Team aims to engage the community in all areas of the project and collaboration is key to the development process. If you have skills to help us improve the project please get in touch
SMALL WORLD SOCIAL
MADELINE SANDS PROJECT LEADER
TONY KERR INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER
ETHAN FAN SOFTWARE ENGINEER
LUCY COLMAN RESEARCH AND CONTENT
LESAR STEPPUTAT WEARABLES UI/UX DESIGNER
ANDREW HIBBERD VIDEOGRAPHER
AUSTRALIAN BREASTFEEDING ASSOCIATION
The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a nationwide, volunteer run organisation that supports new mothers while they breastfeed their newborns.
The organisation celebrates its 50th year in 2014, and its stronger than ever with over 1100 volunteer breastfeeding counsellors operating around the country.
It is for this reason that the Project Team approached the ABA to collaborate on the project. The ABA enthusiastically dedicated 15 breastfeeding counsellors to the project. The counsellors each received logins to a Google account that allowed them connect with the mothers, make and receive video calls and advise the mothers in a more personal way. Their expertise and knowledge were invaluable to the project team.
Results of the Trial
After an eight week trial of the technology and counselling service, the Project concluded with all mothers breastfeeding confidently. We are proud to have assisted the women during their first weeks of motherhood and would like to dedicate this short film to them.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNT
The Project Team has taken some invaluable learnings from the trial. We have identified a real potential to impact women’s lives and childhood health. The Trial found that mothers and counsellors used the service not simply for breastfeeding advice but for other common mother concerns. At the centre of the trial is the theme of collaboration and support networks, both during development and trial: there are many skilled people in the community who are passionate about creating a better world through technology.
Being able to take part in this trial means a lot to me. I know how important breastfeeding is to my baby, and I want to give him/her the best start I possibly can.
Hi all! My name is Emma Crowder and I am a first time expectant mother, due on 3rd March. I met my English husband whilst we were both living in London, and fortunately for me he was willing to move to Australia when we got engaged. I only had a few concerns he would have trouble adapting, but once we bought a home close to the beach, found a beautiful puppy dog and he realised he could play tennis nearly every day of the year outdoors, the transition was complete. All we were looking for was a baby to complete our family unit. Now we are just days away from that happening and the excitement and nerves are on equal footing. Prior to taking maternity leave, I have been a contract IT Project Manager for many years – or in other words, a professional bossy boots. My focus has been on Infrastructure, Security and Risk projects throughout the Asia Pacific region, and within Financial Services. It’s fast paced, challenging, difficult, confusing and time consuming. But it is most definitely rewarding, and I know that some of the skills I’ve learnt on the professional job will translate to being a mum. For example: “I’m not upset that you didn’t complete your technical specifications, just disappointed” becomes “I’m not upset that you didn’t complete your homework, just disappointed” But I’ll also be learning new skills and breastfeeding is most definitely one I want to have every chance of mastering. I have two sisters with children, one successfully breastfed, the other could not. My mother also was unable to successfully breastfeed, so I have limited knowledgeable resources within my family. Being able to take part in this trial means a lot to me. I know how important breastfeeding is to my baby, and I want to give him/her the best start I possibly can. The slightly selfish reason for taking part is my passion for new technology and seeing how it can be used in innovative ways.
I’m very fortunate that I have my maternal health care nurse located only a couple of blocks away, but not everybody is as lucky as me. If Glass can be used to support new mums in remote or rural areas in the future, then I’ll be honoured to have been included in the early stage of the trial.
I have chosen to be part of the trial because working in the field I see first-hand the significant benefits that research can bring in progressing healthcare.
Hello! My name is Lauren Clarke and I am a first time mum due on February 24th 2014. I have been so blessed and lucky to have had such a wonderful pregnancy (lets hope the labour continues in the same manner!) My husband Nick and I found out that I was pregnant whilst on our belated honeymoon in France and Spain. I had a gut feeling I was pregnant but it took a lot of convincing to get Nick to ask for a pregnancy test in Spanish (I barely speak a word!) at a pharmacy in Barcelona. Being my impatient self the moment we purchased the test we immediately headed to a local cafe for coffee and cake and much to Nick’s disgust I completed it in their tiny bathroom only to then realise that all the instructions were in Spanish. We summed up that the ‘+’ and the word ’embarazadas’ meant a positive test finding! Since then we have progressed happily along the challenging nine months that is a pregnancy, learning a lot and growing together as a couple. Professionally I am a women’s health or pelvic floor physiotherapist. I work in public health at Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne and at a local private practice called Marshall Street Practice specialising in conditions related to musculoskeletal disorders of pregnancy, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and lactation related problems (such as mastitis). I have been working as a physiotherapist for over five years and enjoy the satisfaction of being able to empower individuals to help to manage their own health via exercise and lifestyle changes. Outside of work I enjoy keeping fit with trail running, hiking and competitive triathlon. I am somebody who struggles to sit still so it will interesting to see how my life changes when our new little bundle of joy arrives. We can’t wait to meet him or her and are looking forward to the challenges and pleasures that are coming our way. I have chosen to be part of the trial because working in the field I see first-hand the significant benefits that research can bring in progressing healthcare. I think the concept of realtime viewing of a breastfeed or its related problems with on-tap support could increase the rates of breastfeeding within the community, especially in regional or remote settings where access to a lactation specialist is difficult. When we know that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding it seems like a shame not to use available technology to make it easier for all.
Hopefully our participation in this trial will help many to come. Thank you for the opportunity to be involved
I heard about this trial through a friend and thought it sounded really interesting and like something that could be really beneficial for women like me who had struggled with breastfeeding.
Hello! My name is Sarah-Jane, I’m 25 years old and have just given birth to my third baby, a little boy named Patrick on the 26th of Feb. My other children are Caedyn age 4 and Isobel age 2.5. I have been married to my wonderful husband Rhys for 5 years and we live in the outer south eastern suburbs. Before having kids I worked as a nurse and am also currently a Uni student again (deferred for now while Patrick is still so new), so our lives a very busy! Breastfeeding for me was one of those things I assumed would come easily and naturally with having a baby. I never did any preparation while pregnant with my first two because I was sure I would just put my baby on my breast and that would be that, However that has definitely not been my experience! My first baby was born with a condition called Pierre Robin Sequence which meant he was born with a cleft palate and a very small lower jaw making it physically impossible for him to create any suction. This meant breastfeeding was impossible and he was fed formula through a special needs bottle. When I had my second baby I assumed if all was normal with this bub then we would have no issues and go on to breastfeed successfully. This time a combination of being discharged too early from hospital, lack of knowledge, lack of support and VERY badly damaged nipples resulted in me only being able to feed her for a few days before it all got to much. When I found out I was pregnant this time around I made sure to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible and suss out what supports were available well before my baby was due. I became a member of the ABA and attended a breastfeeding education class with my husband as well as doing lots and lots of reading about breastfeeding. I heard about this trial through a friend and thought it sounded really interesting and like something that could be really beneficial for women like me who had struggled with breastfeeding, and with a baby due at just the right time I was extremely excited to be a part of it all!
I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks hold for baby Patrick and I in regards to our breastfeeding and look forward to trying out this new technology, I feel very lucky to have this extra support this time around!
I know this trial will not only benefit me enormously, but will also pave the way for other mothers in the future.
My name is Laura Loricco and I am a first time mum. I was due on the 5th March, but the beautiful Miss Grace arrived in the wee hours of Thursday Morning 27th February 2014. My partner Nick and I have been blessed with a wonderful pregnancy. I know it can be so hard on others so wont proclaim too much, but I didn’t get morning sickness, I worked up until 27 weeks pregnant and the day I went into labor I had been walking around in town for a few hours…I think its important to remain positive throughout the pregnancy and labor and not to stress too much and truly embrace each day. It does fly by so quick and I know so many women can struggle, so this time is so precious and should be embraced. Professionally, I work full time for AGL in Melbourne CBD as a customer relationship manager and travel around 3 hours each day from Geelong to work. Outside of work I enjoy also keeping fit, being a qualified personal trainer and massage therapist I like to help others in my spare time reach their goals and feel good about themselves. I cannot wait to get back into the more physically demanding activities after my 6 week check up. I have chosen to be apart of this trial as I love the work the Australian Breastfeeding Association do to help support women nationally. The volunteers, members and staff work tirelessly and this organisation is truly one I’m proud to be apart of. Also, my mum could not breastfeed myself or brother and sister so I wanted all the help I could get, so I know this trial will not only benefit me enormously, but will also pave the way for other mothers in the future.
I am so grateful to be apart of this trial, thank you for the opportunity.
I’m hoping that being part of the project can not only assist me with feeding, but many women through the development of the app, online community and through the use of clever technology.
Hi! My name is Cath Sharples and I am a first time mum due on February 25th 2014. Apart from a bit of nausea for the first 12 weeks (and now again at the end of my pregnancy) it’s been pretty much smooth sailing. I have tried to keep fit for labour by attending “Fit for 2” classes twice a week which are run by a midwife and personal trainer. Despite that somehow I have still managed to put 23 kilos on. I only found out I was pregnant at 8 weeks – I really should’ve known due to the nausea and extreme tiredness (I was falling fast asleep on the couch at 7pm every night!). But just thought it was stress due to working a lot of hours in my own business! In January last year I quit the corporate world and my secure job at a bank to start my own business – which consists of me doing a lot of things on a freelance / project basis. I love the variety and the fact that I have the flexibility of working from home when I feel like it. Some of the work I do involves sessional lecturing in Financial Planning at La Trobe University, writing for financial literacy related websites and education programs (my biggest project to date has been with ME Bank in association with Money101), facilitating and assessing training programs for accountants and financial planners (with a few registered training organisations) as well as research, analysis and compliance related work for financial planners all around Australia (Darwin, Adelaide, Rockhampton, Cairns, Parramatta, Orange and Melbourne). It keeps me busy! I’ve just partnered up with my first contractor who is looking after my clients for 3 or 4 months while I take some time to learn how to be a mum! After that, I’m hoping to continue to work approximately 3 days a week from home. We’ll see how it goes! My husband Paul and I got married in March last year after living together for 7 years. We’d talked about having a family – we’re both in our early 30s and have travelled together over the years – to California, New York, Vegas, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Europe (UK, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Paris, Amsterdam, Bruge, Germany), Hong Kong, Cambodia and Thailand to name a few. We love going out for dinner and catching up with friends. We’re calling life with a baby our new adventure! I have chosen to be part of the study as being an educator I believe in the value of research. I am also involved in a pre / post natal depression study in collaboration with Deakin University and Mercy Hospital. Owning a small business I believe in the value of collaboration (using different peoples expertise) and embracing technology intelligently to better the lives of people.
I’m hoping that I will be able to breastfeed due to the health benefits for the baby and I. I used to think it was as simple as “sticking the baby on your boob” but I have a number of friends with new babies who have opened up my eyes to the fact that it can take a bit of work and be a bit of a challenge (especially to begin with). I’m hoping that being part of the project can not only assist me with feeding, but many women through the development of the app, online community and through the use of clever technology.