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.
Achieving accreditation of national competency standards in infant massage education is an important step toward ensuring that people who want to teach infant massage can tell the difference between training that is evidence-based, relevant to the community and meets industry standards and best-practices – and hobby courses which do not meet these standards. Perhaps most importantly, it is an important step in ensuring parents and babies can receive a safer standard of service.
The new national competency standards were approved and accredited on 24 November, 2015. This is the second accreditation of infant massage competency standards.
The latest version of the competency standards have been updated after consultation, input and validation from peak organisations such as the Australian College of Midwives, The Parent-Infant Research Institute, The Australian Association of Infant Mental Health, the Association of Massage Therapists and many representatives from the community and health sector.
One of the most significant changes to the infant massage competency is that is now titled Cue-Based Infant Massage and Parent-Infant Relationship Education to reflect research that identifies the primary benefits of teaching parents infant massage relate to the ways in which it supports early parent-baby relationships. Graduates who complete training under the new competency receive a nationally recognised statement of attainment in this skill. The new competency also places greater emphasis on supporting parents to understand and think about infant emotions.
To date, Baby in Mind remains the only organisation in Australia that delivers training to meet these national competency standards.