Program

Jan 16, 2013

OVERVIEW

My Baby U is a program that teaches infant development and care to make participants better able to cope in their role as new parents. The program is delivered through a series of age-specific videos and books over the first year of participating infants’ lives. Experimental evaluation shows that mothers enrolled in My Baby U gained more knowledge of infant development, and their children had fewer serious illnesses, than their peers who were not in the program.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Parents of children ages 0 to 1

My Baby U., initiated in 1990, is a program designed to educate parents about infant development and caring for their baby. The program is administered through a set of videos and short books that teach mothers about an infant’s state of awareness, individual temperament and cognitive, motor, perceptual and emotional capabilities and needs. The video series follows seven families for the first year of their infants’ lives, and features dialogue between the parents and infancy experts, as well as examples of infant behavior and parent responses. Each video in the set is for a different age (i.e., one-month-old, three-months-old, five-months-old, seven-months-old, ten-months-old, and one year old) and is sent to the parent when the child reaches the age in the specific video.

My Baby U also includes in the series a video called “Enjoying Infant Massage.”
·Length: One year.
·Intensity: Eight hour-long videos, watched over the course of a year. Parents can also read 50- to 70-page books that accompany the videos.
·Service Delivery Mode: Videos and books.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Brown, M., Yando, R. & Rainforth, M. (2000). Effects of an at-home video course on maternal learning, infant care and infant health. Early Child Development and Care, 160, 47-65.

Evaluated population: 251 mothers of preterm newborns at the debut of the program; 200 at the end of the year-long program. Of the participants at year-end, 175 were first-time mothers. The average age of mothers was 28.5 years, and the average education level was some college (without finishing).

Approach: Funding for research on My Baby U. was provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To date, one experimental study of the program has been conducted (Brown, Yando & Rainforth, 2000). Expectant mothers were recruited through pre-natal education classes run by medical centers in a mid-sized New England City. The sample consisted of 251 participants. A total of 116 participants were assigned to the intervention group and 135 to the control group. The study experienced a 20 percent attrition rate over the course of the year of the study; by the end of the year, there were 200 participants. Over the course of the year, mothers in the intervention group were mailed the videos and books at the appropriate times without any instructions.

All participants completed questionnaires prenatally, at 6 months and at 1 year. Intervention and control group mothers were compared on their confidence in and knowledge of infant development at the three time points. In addition, the links between maternal knowledge, maternal behavior and infant health (through examination of infants’ medical records) were examined.

Results: Study authors found that intervention group mothers scored significantly higher than control group mothers on a test of knowledge of infant development at both 6 months and 1 year. However, there were no differences on a questionnaire concerning confidence as a parent. There were no differences between the two groups in the number of well-baby pediatric visits, but intervention group mothers took their infants for unscheduled visits significantly more frequently than control group mothers. In addition, intervention group mothers were significantly more likely to abide by recommended immunization schedules than control group mothers. Finally, intervention group infants had significantly fewer severe illnesses than control group infants: they were no less likely to become ill, but they required less medication, fewer follow-up pediatric visits, fewer referrals to specialists, etc.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://mybabyu.com

References:

Brown, M., Yando, R. & Rainforth, M. (2000). Effects of an at-home video course on maternal learning, infant care and infant health. Early Child Development and Care, 160, 47-65.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

Child
Trends. (2001). School readiness: Helping communities get children ready for
school and schools ready for children (Research brief).
Washington, DC:

Child Trends.

Halle,
T., Zaff, J., Calkins, J., & Margie, N. G. (2000). Background for
community-level work on school readiness: A review of definitions, assessments,
and investment strategies. Part II: Reviewing the literature on contributing
factors to school readiness
. Washington, DC: Child Trends, Inc.

 

KEYWORDS: Infants, Clinic/Provider-Based, Parent of Family Component, Physical Health

Program information last updated 3/15/07