When Melissa was pregnant with her first child, she had a difficult time finding a prenatal class she could attend. Most classes were held in the evening. Because Melissa worked long hours, often at night, this made things complicated. Eventually, she ended up attending an all-day session over the weekend.
She explains, “I left feeling completely overwhelmed. It wasn’t just the volume of information that was delivered in the all-day session, it was the complexity of it too. Even though I’m an educated person, the pregnancy stuff was just a whole new world.”
Later, once her child was born, she experienced a new challenge: trying to sort through the sea of well-meaning advice found on parent forums. Melissa wanted credible, evidence-based information and support… but struggled to find it.
Nourish Baby is conceived
These experiences paved the way for Nourish Baby, a pregnancy and parenting educational resource, founded by Melissa Grant.
Melissa is Nourish Baby’s Co-Director, and she also serves as Co-Director at Safe Sleep Space, an early parenting consultancy group specialising in sleep and settling infants and toddlers.
When asked about the origins of Nourish Baby, Melissa says, “I had the idea of video-based classes where people could refer to the material on their own schedule. That gets rid of the issue where you can’t find the time to get to class – the videos are available at all times.
“In addition, you don’t have to worry about remembering all the information. Trying to retain everything you’ve learnt before your next class can be really overwhelming. But with video classes, people can go back and revisit the material as many times as they need. Therefore, this helps them get rid of that sense of being overwhelmed so they can feel more confident and prepared for the birth itself.
“It’s really easy for people to focus on the labour and birth, which is typically over and done with after just a few hours, and completely overlook the postnatal period.
“Once the baby arrives, there are a bunch more challenges. Feeding challenges, sleeping challenges, the mother’s own emotional health and wellbeing, how things change with your partner. All of those things that you don’t even think about in the antenatal phase.
“So, once new parents come out of the no-sleep phase, it’s very useful for them to access and refer to information that helps them overcome all of these postnatal challenges.”
About Nourish Baby courses
Today, Nourish Baby offers five video-based courses, covering: pregnancy, labour & delivery, feeding, babies, and toddlers. Each course is comprehensive, taking several hours to complete. However, they’re actually intended to be tackled in much smaller doses.
“The idea is that they don’t need to sit down and do a course in one go,” Melissa says.
At the start, we capture their date of birth, or their expected due date, and we guide them, week by week, or every couple of weeks, depending on where they are in the journey.
Furthermore, these courses aren’t just for mums. Melissa says, “Some information is obviously more relevant to the women giving birth, but we have information for dads, information for partners, we have content for same-sex couples, everything from even getting pregnant all the way through to when baby arrives. So, we’ve tried to be really inclusive of everyone who’s involved.”
As for the content of the course itself, it’s designed to be highly engaging. Melissa says, “The content is really varied – there’s written information, videos, audio, PDF downloads, and knowledge checks throughout.
“The knowledge checks aren’t compulsory, and we don’t have them for every single module. We obviously don’t want people to feel like they can pass or fail at birth. But the checks do provide a great opportunity for the learner to see whether they’re embedding the new knowledge. It also gives us great feedback to see what information perhaps needs to be clearer in terms of delivery.”
Just as importantly, the content offers exactly what Melissa wanted when she first became a parent – credible, evidence-based support.
She says, “We have some very strict and clear clinical governance guidelines that dictate what content goes onto the site, who’s writing that content, and letting people know exactly when the content was last updated.
“We take it really seriously. We want people to feel confident that the information they’re digesting is evidence-based best practices, but at the same time, easy to understand and digest.”
In addition to the company’s high internal standards, Nourish Baby has met external ones as well. For instance, the company holds an EQuIP6 accreditation with The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS). Additionally, course instructors consist solely of practising health professionals. Melissa explains,
With the childbirth course, we use midwives and educators that are working in the field today. Same goes for the lactation consultants and child health nurses who’ve contributed to our breastfeeding and early parenting courses.
“And, we select professionals that people can relate to. We try and pick warm and personable people that viewers are really able to connect with.
“Over the years, we’ve received some amazing feedback. I remember one particular mother saying, ‘Oh gosh, I hope I have a midwife like Carolyn during the birth’. Our goal of having someone who, from the other side of the camera, can come across as very personable, was definitely achieved in that instance.”
The benefits of using Nourish Baby courses
The traditional way of attending classes in person has its drawbacks. Melissa explains, “People who live rurally have often missed out because they physically can’t access the classes. Sometimes classes fill up. And then, there are issues with the class experience itself.
Melissa shares, “Even though people might get to a class, sometimes they feel they’re not covering as much as they potentially could cover, and then within a few days, they forget everything that was learnt.
“You literally come out of those classes feeling full – there’s a lot to take on board. This does result in some people just giving up, saying things like, ‘Well, I’m not going to my class this week. It’s too hard, it’s too much, it’s too overwhelming’.
“So, there are a lot of people who aren’t prepared and are simply not aware of the potential challenges and changes that are coming. This extends beyond labour and birth.
“For example, how do you prepare for feeding? We know that most Australian women start out breastfeeding, something like 96%, but a quarter of them have given up by the time their baby is 6 months old, and that’s mainly due to a lack of support.
“Not because there aren’t necessarily support resources out there – you’re just so sleep-deprived, you’re struggling just to get up and get going for the day. Picking up the phone to try and find someone to assist you with your breastfeeding challenges is difficult enough.
“But, if we can educate people that they can just quickly jump on and access quality education in that moment of need, then we’re going to stop things from spiralling out of control. They can identify potential issues early and easily seek out assistance when they need to.
White-label courses for medical centres
Typically, an individual goes onto Nourish, makes a purchase, and this gets them access to what’s called a learning hub. For GPs, Nourish Baby can white-label a sub-portal of the learning hub, and GPs will get their own unique URL. This can be done individually or for an entire practice.
Melissa says, “This sub-portal will include the GP’s own branding, such as their name and practice logo, and we can set up personalised welcome messages for their patients. This will allow them to say to their patients, ‘As part of our relationship here, you have access to Nourish’.
“In terms of the content itself, there’s great flexibility. A GP can say to us, ‘Look, I don’t want to give my patients all five courses, I just want to give them A, B and C courses. I have perhaps some specific content, you know, PDF documents or some videos and things that I’d like to include as well’.
“We’ll only include courses that are going to be useful, and we can also load any additional content into the sub-portal too. We can also report specifically on the users within their sub-portal.”
To learn more about white labelling with Nourish Baby, visit nourishbaby.com.au.
The future of Nourish Baby
When asked about the future of Nourish Baby, Melissa says, “Building on the improvements from our recent relaunch, we’ll be continuing to try and better understand what people are looking for in terms of content. And we’ll continue to customise and personalise all of our information as much as possible.
“Pregnancy through to age three is our speciality in terms of a business, so we’re not looking to expand into pre-schoolers or anything like that. We really just want to continue to refine the information that we already have, make it as engaging as possible, and support our other service channels, GPs, and so forth.”
Founder and Co-Director, Nourish Baby
Melissa is the founder and Co-Director of Nourish Baby. She is also Co-Director of Safe Sleep Space, an early parenting consultancy group specialising in sleep and settling of infants and toddlers. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Melissa worked in senior marketing positions at HealthChoicesFirst, Playground and Admark Communications.Read More