INFANT

Healthy eating and active play

Supporting families from the start of life

Become a facilitator

“I have really enjoyed the INFANT program. The My Baby Now app has been so helpful in discussing topics and referring to with parents during the consults. The information is easy to follow and understand for parents. I have found that parents really enjoy reading new information that is up to date and evidence based.”

INFANT facilitator

“I love the resources and how the whole program has been set up. I love that as a facilitiator- everything has been provided- videos, pamphlets, posters etc. The only thing that is needed is a willing spirit and participants. I really look forward to sharing this program with my local community to benefit all the children we see. 

INFANT facilitator

What is INFANT?

  • INFANT (INfant Feeding, Active play and NuTrition) is designed to help families with healthy eating, active play and reduced screen time from the start of their baby’s life.
  • INFANT consists of four group sessions for mums, dads and carers led by a professional, with content reinforced via a mobile app called My Baby Now.
  • A guiding principle of INFANT is that mums, dads and carers are provided with information before it is needed – this is referred to as anticipatory guidance.
  • INFANT also provides an opportunity for mums, dads and carers to support each other’s learning through shared experiences, tips and strategies and through social connection.
  • The four group sessions run for around 90 minutes and are delivered when infants are 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
  • INFANT sessions are delivered by staff such as Maternal and Child Health Nurses, Dietitians, and Health Promotion Officers who have received INFANT facilitator training.
  • INFANT facilitators provide contemporary, evidence-informed information that is tailored to the parents and families who attend their groups, while also promoting group dynamics and sharing of ideas.

The My Baby Now app and website is the result of 5 years of research with mums, dads, carers and health professionals. My Baby Now complements the face-to-face group sessions and extends support for mums, dads and carers from their baby’s birth and into the toddler years. It includes reinforcing messages for mums, dads, and carers; personalised just for them and their baby’s age and stage of development. It also provides opportunities for INFANT facilitators to tailor content delivery and link parents to content outside of the face-to-face sessions.

INFANT has been developed and reviewed by experts including Maternal and Child Health Nurses, dietitians and health behaviour specialists. The sessions align with Victoria’s universal Key age and stage visits and all messages are consistent with national dietary and physical activity guidelines.

Why INFANT?

Promoting healthy lifestyle habits early in life is important for optimal growth and development as well as the prevention of chronic diseases later in life.

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Health trajectories for the whole of our lives are established in the first 1000 days of life. It makes good sense to ensure the best trajectories for all children.

New mums, dads and carers are responsive to parenting information and support that helps them to promote healthy eating, active play and in turn, healthy development of their child

The main influences on infant’s and children’s health behaviours in their first year of life are the family, home environment, and health services.

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Offering INFANT as routine practice within local health services maximises the opportunity to support families at this critical time of their infant’s life.

The benefits of INFANT

INFANT is based on more than 15 years of research undertaken within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Australia. In 2008, INFANT was delivered as a research trial with 540 families across 14 Victorian local government areas (LGAs). INFANT uptake was high and had significant effects for families taking part.

INFANT helps children
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Reduce sedentary time (children watched 25% less television)
Campbell KJ, Lioret S, McNaughton SA, et al. A parent-focused intervention to reduce infant obesity risk behaviors: a randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2013;131(4):652–660.
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Mothers consistently reported high levels of program usefulness and relevance
Campbell KJ, Lioret S, McNaughton SA, et al. A parent-focused intervention to reduce infant obesity risk behaviors: a randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2013;131(4):652–660.
See all | Cross ref
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Improve diet (children consumed 25% fewer sweet snacks and had improved dietary quality)
Spence AC, McNaughton SA, Lioret S, Hesketh KD, Crawford DA, Campbell KJ. A health promotion intervention can affect diet quality in early childhood. J Nutr. 2013;143(10):1672–8.
See all | Cross ref
INFANT helps mums, dads and carers
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Improve dietary patterns of mothers
Lioret S, Campbell KJ, Crawford D, Spence AC, Hesketh K, McNaughton SA. A parent focused child obesity prevention intervention improves some mother obesity risk behaviors: The Melbourne infant program. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012;9:100.
See all | Cross ref
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Improve mothers’ knowledge and self-efficacy
Spence AC, Campbell KJ, Crawford DA, McNaughton SA, Hesketh KD. Mediators of improved child diet quality following a health promotion intervention: The Melbourne InFANT Program. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014;11:137.
See all | Cross ref
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Improve infant feeding practises Spence AC, McNaughton SA, Lioret S, Hesketh KD, Crawford DA, Campbell KJ. A health promotion intervention can affect diet quality in early childhood. J Nutr. 2013;143(10):1672–8. See all
Cross ref
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Connect with other mums, dads and carers and services locally

INFANT is engaging
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Mothers consistently reported high levels of program usefulness and relevance Campbell KJ, Lioret S, McNaughton SA, et al. A parent-focused intervention to reduce infant obesity risk behaviors: a randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2013;131(4):652–660
See all Cross ref
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68% of participants attended the majority (4 or more) of intervention sessions
Campbell KJ, Lioret S, McNaughton SA, et al. A parent-focused intervention to reduce infant obesity risk behaviors: a randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2013;131(4):652–660.
See all
| Cross ref
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Mums, dads and carers often found the group sessions important for support and social connections
Love P, Laws R, Litterbach E, Campbell KJ.Factors Influencing Parental Engagement in an Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program Implemented at Scale: The Infant Program. Nutrients. 2018;10(4)
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| Cross ref
INFANT health outcomes are sustained
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After participating in the INFANT program, the benefits for children continue at age 3.5 and 5 years
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Sustained improvement in child diet (more veg and fruit, less sweet drinks)
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Maintained reduced screen time (less TV)
INFANT enhances service delivery
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Increased professionals’ confidence to integrate healthy eating and active play messages into routine consultations with parents

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Reduced the need for additional consultation with parents to address food-related issues e.g. introducing solids, fussy eating

Getting started with INFANT

INFANT has structured content and resources to guide facilitators but there is flexibility with how INFANT is embedded into services, who facilitates it, where it is held and how long it takes to establish. 

INFANT impact: policy

As a result of the successful trial and proof of concept of small-scale translation, INFANT has been recommended in key state and national health policies in Australia and internationally, including:

International

  • INFANT identified in US CDC review as the strongest international model for wide-spread implementation of a community complementary feeding intervention.

National

  • INFANT is now included in The Australian Institute of Family Studies guidebook on evidence-based programs. INFANT is approved for use under the 50% requirement for Communities for Children Facilitating Partners for organisations running programs funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS).
  • INFANT is listed on the VegKit registry, an interactive online library of evaluated initiatives that promote children’s vegetable intake.

Victorian

INFANT is available to any interested organisations. Implementing organisations have access to online facilitator training, a virtual community of practice and all INFANT resources. Offering INFANT as routine practice within organisations maximises the opportunity to support families at this critical time of their infant’s life.