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Make early connections part of every child’s story

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Donate to Support Parent-Baby Relationships

Use our secure online donation form to support Baby in Mind reach more families. 100% of your donation goes into programs, and nothing else. We do not spend any donations on fundraising, non-program or peripheral costs. Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible in Australia.

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Make a tax-deductible donation to child mental health

tax-deductible donation to child mental health

and we’ll turn it into a tax-deductible investment.

You probably already know

You are not a stranger to our work. Most people already know that the work of Baby in Mind makes a profound difference to babies and their families in our community. You probably already know that our work is evidence-based.

Every day, the type of early intervention we support is being linked to more and more outcomes. When we improve the quality of these early relationships we are directly reducing:

  • rates of chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • child abuse and neglect risks and vulnerability.
  • childhood mental health issues, and adult mental illness.
  • social breakdown: including loneliness, violence and lack of empathy.
  • community breakdown: including crime and education exclusion.

If a baby is hungry and they get fed, and if they are stressed get comforted, the brain wires itself for trust, empathy, learning, connection and participation. But if he or she is hungry and not fed, and stressed and not comforted, the brain wires itself for fear, disconnection and mistrust. It’s not just about economics. It’s about relationships: “Poor kids who have someone feeding them and interacting with them do well, and the well-to-do kids who don’t have this care do badly.”

Researchers can tell the difference in the brain wiring as early as 100 days. “And that fist 100-day period is predictive of where kids are going to be at 3 and 5 years”  (Halverson, 2017).

And at 50 years.

This has been forgotten by governments

There are dozens of charities with big budgets doing a great job of looking after the food, money and physical needs of families who need it.

And a growing number of organisations are increasingly taking an active role in providing infant mental health and relationship support in the first 100 days.

But the knowledge and skills for staff to do this, don’t just come out of thin air.

Baby in Mind is the only Australian organisation providing vital, evidence-based infant mental health promotion skills at the grass-roots. Our focus is on training. Rather than spending money on more services, we train health professionals and community workers who are already supporting families. We’re content to work behind the scenes where we can have the most sustainable impact.

We’ve been doing this for almost 25 years. And despite our programs being used in hundreds of community, government and small business settings, we don’t receive any government funding at all.

Your tax-deductible donation to child mental health is an investment

A donation involves giving money away to provide a program. Once the program is finished, your donation has finished its work.

But for us, we do things differently.

A donation to Baby in Mind is used to support training. As a result, your tax-deductible donation to child mental health is still having an impact, long after it has been used. Because we focus on training people who are already working with families, they will continue using these skills well into the future with more and more families. And because we start early in life this helps target your donation to the greatest possible long-term impact.

In other words, we’re not merely asking for a tax-deductible donation. Rather, a tax-deductible investment in the long-term health and well-being of our whole community.

 

Guns might not kill people. But we need to stop making people who do.

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Dear America.

We’re so sorry for what is happening to you at the moment.

It is tragic and difficult to hear an almost continuous stream of news reports about gun violence in your country involving, invariably, people’s children, and children’s parents. It’s hard for us to fathom what it must be like for parents, particularly parents of colour and those in areas where guns are prevalent, to raise children in this space.

We too have dealt with the pain of mass shootings in which mothers, fathers, grandparents and children died. It’s happened throughout our country’s history too. Our Aboriginal people endured years of mass-killings and, later, we experienced with increasing frequency, the sorts of random mass shootings that are occurring in your country.

Ironically it was our conservative government at the time that acted swiftly (and against the loud lobby groups) to bring about change here after the last mass shooting. Maybe strong leadership rises above political persuasion? Gun control went some way to working for us, in the context of our culture and history. But each place is different. What’s right for us, may not be right for you. Your solutions may need to be different. Only you guys can work this out.

We understand the passion on both “sides” of your gun debate. Mothers passionate about gun control and restriction. Mothers passionate about (perhaps a reality for some?) the belief that guns are the best way to keep their children safe.

I know that many of you believe that guns don’t kill people, that “people kill people”. You’re trying to tell us that it’s not guns that are the problem, but people. And perhaps your argument brings a grain of wisdom.

Perhaps if we agreed to agree that it is people who kill people (whether with a gun, a knife, a car, drugs, or the slow living death caused by social exclusion and loneliness), then we also have to acknowledge the other side of the coin. If people really do kill people, then people also have an equal capacity to not kill people.

And, people who kill people are not ‘glitches’. People who don’t kill people are not glitches either.

People who kill people are made. Which means we have an equal capacity to make people who don’t kill people.  We have control over this.

We have the capacity to make people who are capable of empathy and connection. We have the capacity to make people whose experience of the world is one of safety and security and contribution – rather than fear and rage.

So while you debate and grapple with your gun laws, please keep hope in mind. Because there is very little debate about how we (as families, communities and a species) can go about making people who *don’t* kill people.

There is such clear evidence that the seeds for people who don’t kill people are planted – mostly – in the first 1,000 days of life. They are sewn in the context of the relationships and interactions that parents and primary caregivers have with their children. Which is in turn fed by the level of safety, security and support that new parents themselves experience.

There is no magic technology needed. It’s relatively (comparatively) cheap.  There is clear evidence that early relationships characterized by warmth, responsiveness and boundaries gently developed are the seeds of human resilience, connection and security. These seeds are then nurtured and developed and shaped (or killed off) by families and schools and communities throughout childhood.

The debate about gun violence is therefore much bigger than one about gun laws. As Lillian Katz points out “the good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is secured for all other people’s children”. Regardless of our respective politics, religions or beliefs that we dearly cling to as markers of our differences from each other – the thing that unites us is our children. And while other people’s children suffer, then mine will too. Particularly when that suffering is experienced by parents and/ or their babies in the first 1,000 days of life.

This becomes a discussion that many countries and communities – not only America – have to have. Which is: at what point will we begin insisting that our representatives and business philanthropists “back the evidence” by doing what it takes to ensure that all parents and communities have the resources they need to make people who don’t kill people? And it’s not only a matter of doing what we need to do to make people who don’t kill people. When we invest in simple, effective strategies that support parent-infant relationships, we’re also investing in reducing rates of and risks for behavioural difficulties, school difficulties, mental illness, addiction, and many forms of chronic disease.
There is no person with a greater capacity to effect change in the world than a parent. But this capacity is only fulfilled to the extent that we invest in it for all families.

Please don’t forget to have that part of the discussion too.

Love Australia.

Principles of High Quality Infant Massage Education

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Module 1: Touch and Human Development

In this module, you will explore the role of touch in human development, and particularly infant mental health development. In this module, you will have the opportunity to:

  • explore how parent-infant touch relates to early human development;
  • examine some of the key research influencing our understanding of how touch plays a central role in the development of emotional and affect regulation; and
  • review touch-related research which adds to our understanding of infant social development.

We will also introduce some ideas and give thought to how people’s own experiences and cultural beliefs about touch can impact on the quality of these early opportunities and interactions to support infant development.

The module takes most people 3-4 hours to complete.

Module 2: Infant Massage In Australia

This module explores some of the historical influences on the development of infant massage and touch education in Australia generally, and introduces the First Touch Program specifically. Students will gain knowledge of how infant massage education has developed and the characteristics of Cue-Based Infant massage.    By completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Describe some of the key influences on the evolution of formal infant massage education;
  • Discus some of the main features which can be used to help distinguish between different approaches to infant massage education; and
  • Describe these features as they exist in the First Touch Infant massage program.

The module takes most people 1.5 – 2 hours to complete.

Module 3: Promoting Nurturing Parenting Through Infant Massage Education

Infant massage education is widely used in health and community services to promote early parent-infant relationships. This course outlines specific research which identifies various features of infant massage education which, in particular, appear to result in improved parent-infant relationship outcomes. By completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe some of the ways in which different researchers have approached evaluation and trials of infant massage education;
  • Describe some of the key characteristics (mechanisms) of high-quality infant massage education;
  • Review different infant massage resources for  evidence-based strengths and weaknesses; and
  • Discuss some of the risks that may be associated with programs that do not demonstrate these characteristics.

The module takes most people 4-5 hours to complete.

This short course introduces students to some of the key principles and research underpinning the delivery of high quality, evidence-informed infant massage education to families with a baby.

This course is FREE, is open to everyone, and can be undertaken at any time.

The course contains three short modules, which you can complete online, in your own time.

Completion of this course allows you to apply for entry to the nationally recognised Statement of Attainment in Cue-Based Infant Massage and Parent-Infant Relationship Education.

All students to complete three modules also receive a Principles of Infant Massage Education Badge to add to their portfolio or online profile.

Start today for free!

Touch and Human Development

Infant Massage in Australia

Promoting Nurturing Parenting Through High-Quality Infant Massage Education

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