Baby development | Medway Council
A better Medway

The grow my brain campaign was created by two midwives, Jo and Trude who were inspired by years of helping Medway’s mums deliver and look after their babies.

Research shows that babies who feel safe and secure experience better brain development, even when they're still inside their mother’s tummy.


How to build your baby's brain

Watch these eight short videos for loving interactions you can do with your baby to help build their brains, standing them in good stead for later life.

Each interaction is hand drawn by midwife Trude in her home in Medway.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the big differences.

The story behind grow my brain

The idea for grow my brain came to midwife Jo Maynard one night when she was lying in bed and couldn’t get to sleep.

Jo started thinking about how best she could support the families that she meets every day as part of her job as Lead Midwife for Infant Feeding at Medway Maritime Hospital.

She shared her idea with another midwife called Trude, who in her spare time is a very talented illustrator. Together they created the beautiful illustrations and words that are at the heart of the grow my brain campaign.

Grow my brain is supported by the Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Medway Community Healthcare and the council. It was launched on Valentine’s Day 2019.

The science behind grow my brain

The first 1,000 days of your baby’s life (the time between when you get pregnant and your baby’s second birthday) are really important for the human brain.

Your baby’s brain is developing really quickly, the quickest that it will grow during their life time.  

Advances in science mean that we know a baby’s brain develops better if they feel safe and secure. This is true when a baby is still inside their mother’s tummy and once they are born.

Simple actions like singing to your baby, stroking or talking to your bump, helps your little one to feel loved and safe.

Scientific research has revealed that when unborn babies and young children feel stressed they release a hormone called cortisol, which prevents healthy brain development.

UNICEF have reported that the right side of a baby’s brain develops best when they enjoy a strong bond with their parents or carers. This brain development is really important as it’s the right side of the brain that is responsible for our emotions and how well we communicate.

So the development of your baby’s brain can affect what sort of adult they will grow up to be, from how well they are able to manage their feelings to whether they can form positive relationships.

Alcohol and pregnancy

According to the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) for the UK, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. This will help keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

Drinking alcohol in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to your baby. The more you drink, the greater the risk.

Find out more about drinking alcohol while pregnant.