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Response to ‘How neuroparenting is sapping the joy out of life’ by Jan Macvarish

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You may never have heard of Jan Macvarish – I hadn’t until I came across an article of hers published on The Conversation titled “How ‘neuroparenting’ is sapping the joy out of family life’. The article does not paint a positive picture of neuroscience-informed policy and pokes fun at the use of “baby massage” as an intervention to support early childhood development. Read More

Five Year Accreditation Granted to Infant Massage Course

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Parents are often surprised to know that the majority of people who teach infant massage programs in Australia have only completed “hobby” or non-vocational courses in how to do infant massage or – in many cases – no training in infant massage whatsoever. However, in November, the Australian Government (via the Australian Skills Quality Authority)  re-accredited the National Competency Standards relating to the delivery of infant massage education.

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Prison bonds…of a different kind.

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Joanne Mulcahy is a Family Support Coordinator at the UK-based organisation, Prison Advice and Care Trust. Joanne is also trained to deliver a parent-baby program (known here in Australia as The First Touch Program). In an article originally published by IAIM-UK, Joanne writes:

It is difficult enough being a new parent without the stress of the dad being in prison. Mothers are coping alone at home – with the help of family and friends if lucky. In prison, dads are not able to do anything to help, have no chance of bonding with their new baby, and no chance to see important milestones…With up to 435 men at Swansea [a medium-security] prison there are quite a number of young men whose babies are born while they are inside.

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40% of new parents we work with are battling loneliness and isolation

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Each year, our educators work with an estimated 35,000 families in Australia to provide the First Touch Program and support parent-infant interactions. Since July 2016 we’ve started collecting data and feedback from some of those families about the impact the program has had on them. Over the past three months, this data has revealed a worrying trend, with 40% of parents completing the survey tool so far stating that they are battling feelings of significant isolation and loneliness.  Without support or opportunities to find and build connections, isolation can wreak havoc with a new parent’s mental health.

Perhaps also worrying is that 60% of parents completing the First Touch Program with our educators say that the program was “far more useful” than other supports that they have received as a new parent. While that is positive feedback for our educators and our program as a whole, it does continue to highlight the gaps in the government and social care systems that are available to all families.

The data collection is in early days yest, so these trends may yet change as more data is gathered.

The secret to a happy working life

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Here at Baby in Mind, we work with hundreds of people every year who are contemplating a career change. Midwives, nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, remedial therapists, community workers, and even engineers and architects. Despite their diverse backgrounds, most of them share in common a sense of wanting to do something more, or something completely different.

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Aussie massage therapists take on Duchess Kate’s challenge

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After learning that adult mental illness can often be prevented in early childhood, The Duchess of Cambridge, Katherine Middleton, is campaigning for communities to give more attention to mental health development in infancy and early childhood. Although an Australian celebrity is yet to take up the same cause here, a local business-charity partnership is stepping up to reduce early mental health risks faced by Australian children. Read More

The Most Important Thing

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It’s hard to believe this photo of Rachelle and baby Rocco almost never happened.

For most of us, soon after the birth of a baby, we discover that photos can be misleading. Parenthood is, we discover, not a nappy commercial. We discover the day-to-day reality is more messy,blurry and relentless than anyone ever described. We join a secret club with other parents and go around shaking our heads,making cynical comments to each other about ‘those’ photos of clean babies, gazing lovingly at mothers who look like they have just awoken from 8 hours of sleep and been dressed by a team of Vogue magazine stylists.

When there is a perfect moment – a special cuddle, a loving look, a smile, a sleeping baby – we whip out the camera phone to gather precious, precious evidence that there were, after all, at least some glimpses of connection, buried in the chaos and confusion of parenthood.

But, for Rachelle, her family’s hope of stealing a moment of perfection here and there, came crashing down at her 20 week scan.

Here is her story. Read More

The Baby Listener

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My baby cried. A lot.

Soon after her birth, I discovered the biggest parenting in-joke: it’s the one (often accompanied with a roll of the eyes) about the wealth of advice we receive – lists, books, comments – which is usually contradictory and often unhelpful. In fact, one of my child health nurses would share the joke with me – I think in an attempt to help me relax and remember that wonderful platitude that “all babies are different” and I was just doomed to have a baby who cried. Read More

The Role of Cue-Based Infant Massage in Postnatal Depression

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Even under the best of circumstances, crying, sleep difficulties and simply working out how to care for a new baby can cause distress and confusion for many new parents. For Louise, after the birth of her second child Ryan, these challenges became overwhelming through the fog of postnatal depression.

While seeking treatment and support from her GP, Louise was referred to the First Touch Program. Louise credits the program, which centres on building parent-baby relationships using cue-based baby massage, as being one of the crucial parts of her recovery. And she’s not the only one: a growing body of research and evaluation studies suggest that, under certain conditions, cue-based infant massage has the potential to have a long-term impact on the health and well-being of babies, as well as their parents.
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