PARENTS of new babies in Somerset are benefitting from an app that supports with feeding and parenting in the first 1,001 days after birth.

The Anya app from LatchAid Ltd is being offered to families in the first 1,001 days of their baby’s life to support with pregnancy, parenting and infant feeding.

A premium version of the app is available to families who have used the maternity services at Yeovil, Bridgwater and Musgrove Park Hospitals or have had a home birth in Somerset, as a three-month trial – the free offer closes on April 30.

The app contains an interactive 3D ‘LatchAid’ animation tool showing mums how they can best position and attach their baby for breastfeeding. It was created by Dr Chen Mao Davies, the founder and chief executive of LatchAid, following her own experiences of breastfeeding.

The length new mums breastfeed has doubled to between six and eight weeks in the 12 NHS trusts that have introduced the Anya app.

In the premium version of the app, mums can ask as many questions as they like to the ‘Anya AI virtual supporter’ and can attend drop-in webinars with specialists.

The Anya chat function has been created with trusted information from healthcare specialists and can answer questions, direct to useful articles, videos and webinars, and signpost to healthcare services.

Premium users can view additional breastfeeding positions in the LatchAid 3D tool, with animations showing how to hold their baby, hunger cues and how the baby’s tongue moves during feeding.

Liz Gunn, infant feeding team lead at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: "As many parents know, caring for a new baby is a whirlwind. We hope that being able to find trusted information and support in the comfort of their own home through this app will help parents when they most need it at the tap of a button.

"We’re looking forward to seeing how parents can benefit from the app and will continue to add extra support which could help mothers to reach their breastfeeding goals.”

By summer 2023, the experiences of parents using the app should lead to healthcare professionals having a clear understanding of how the Anya app can best reach and support under-served communities to address inequalities, while improving the number of mums breastfeeding, as well as better health outcomes.

After the three-month trial, families will have access to the free version, which will still provide access to resources and the basic LatchAid tool, but will limit users to five questions per day to the Anya AI virtual supporter.

Download the Anya app on IOS or Android via the app store.