That time Small World and Google Glass helped new mothers learn to breastfeed
Trial in 2014 highlighted the need for collaboration in learning process
The process of learning to breastfeed isn’t quite what it used to be.
Traditionally, new mothers were able to draw on support from loved ones and experienced mothers to help learn the surprisingly difficult process of breastfeeding. However the world has become far more global than it once was, with families spread sometimes thousands of miles apart. Furthermore, hospital stays are quite a bit shorter than they used to be, as hospitals tend to focus more on the baby’s delivery than what will be done afterwards. In fact, new moms tend to head home within two days after giving birth to a baby.
In 2014, Small World took a step forward in solving the problems of breastfeeding when they collaborated with the Australian Breastfeeding Association to develop tutorials available using Google’s advanced wearable technology: Google Glass.
The wearable device shows breastfeeding mothers prompts featuring key concepts related to breastfeeding, giving these mothers direction. During an eight-week trial conducted beginning on Jan. 19, 2014, a counselor was on hand as well, giving mothers access to a professional who could help them through the process of learning to breastfeed. The five moms who tried the program could ask questions and gets answers immediately, as the counselor was able to use the displayed live video to see exactly how the mother was breastfeeding her baby. The video stream was private and secure, meaning only the mother and the counselor could see what’s happening. The ability to contact a counselor was always available, regardless of the mother’s location.
The five new mothers were trained on the technology and made use of it for the planned eight weeks. After the trial, all were able to confidently breastfeed their kids. Support was offered by Small World including home visits, software updates and constant communication in order to garner the most accurate feedback from the trial participants.
Small World created a short film dedicated to the mothers’ journey, available for viewing at https://www.smallworldsocial.com/breastfeeding-support-project/.
From the breastfeeding trial, the project team learned a variety of valuable lessons. The team identified the potential to positively impact mothers’ lives and the health of their children. The counseling service was used for questions beyond breastfeeding, and the mothers who used it felt supported in ways that extended past breastfeeding.
The importance of collaboration and support networks were the biggest takeaways from the 2014 trial, and the use of Google’s wearable technology was a major catalyst in this. In the video, one mother described a counselor using her mouth on-camera to mimic what the baby needed to do. This wouldn’t be possible in a printed pamphlet or instructional. Live collaboration and support was required, and that’s exactly what Small World’s program provided.
Today, Small World continues to evolve their mission by providing support and guidance to new mothers through their mobile app platform.