Grow my brain gives babies the best start in life
Date: 20 February 2019
An exciting new campaign aimed at new and expectant parents has been launched across Medway.
The Grow my Brain Campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of bonding with babies in the womb, and the first days and years of a child’s life. Studies show that investing in a child’s early development is crucial for their future health and wellbeing. Connections built in a child’s brain in the first years of life are the building blocks of their future, and for them to develop properly children need to be nourished and nurtured from pregnancy right through the early weeks, months, years and beyond.
The importance of parent-child attachment upon baby brain development is so crucial that Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Medway Council and Medway Community Health have launched this campaign to raise awareness of the significant long-term benefits of greater interaction between parents and their babies and infants. It seeks to encourage parents and other family members to interact with their children more, featuring a mixture of animations and still images with hand-illustrated characters of parents and children to depict examples of positive parent-child interaction, and how simple interactions can help to build greater attachment.
The campaign is the brainchild of Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s Lead Midwife for Infant Feeding, Jo Maynard. “I wanted to find a way to reach new parents without it being just another thing they were “told” to do”, said Jo. “We have been promoting these interactions for years, but have never had a good way to present them.”
Jo came up with the eight interactions and put out a plea to colleagues for someone who could draw. Trude McLaren, Senior Sister at Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s Birth Place has a background in arts, and has been illustrating and creating books for her nieces in her spare time.
Trude said, “I was inspired to participate in the campaign because I, like Jo, spent lots of time talking to parents about the importance of interactions which promote brain development but without a good tool to do it with. I was used to bringing a story to life with pens and paints and I knew my illustrations could make that happen.”
Dot Smith, Head of Midwifery at Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is a fantastic positive message for our community and focuses on how nurturing a child’s development from pregnancy onwards can have great benefits to the infant and mother’s mental health, reduce the risk of stillbirth by raising awareness of foetal movements in pregnancy and a promote general awareness in terms of safeguarding children. I am so proud of our midwives for coming up with this idea and bringing it to the community.”
Cllr David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adults Services and covering Public Health, said: “This is a fantastic campaign which supports expectant mothers and their unborn babies. Our children of the future are in very safe hands with the midwifery team at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, who do a brilliant job caring for both children and their parents. We will continue to work closely with the trust to provide advice and support to all our residents.”
The campaign has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of Medway Council, Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Medway Community Healthcare. The project also received support from the Medway Hospital Charity.
The campaign was launched on Valentine's Day with Love me, Grow my brain. You can view it below, and all the other animations in the campaign at www.medway.gov.uk/growmybrain
The Grow my Brain Campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of bonding with babies in the womb, and the first days and years of a child’s life.