You will already be familiar with the key messages and the main topics covered in INFANT – healthy eating, active play and healthy, happy families (parent information). Next, the INFANT team will provide an update on new research and Frequently Asked Questions related to the seven key messages that are contextualised to the needs of parents and their child within each age-appropriate session.
Quick tip: A summary of the key messages is provided in the MBN app and also the online parent handouts for the 3, 6, 9 and 12 month sessions – these resources are suitable to print as handouts.
FAQ from parents during INFANT groups
Here are some common questions asked by parents attending INFANT groups. Read the INFANT team’s suggested response to parents during an INFANT group and ideas for further resources. The INFANT team has also answered more FAQs related to feeding, healthy eating and active play on the My Baby Now app.
Drawing on parents’ experiences
You can also draw on the experience and ideas from parents to help to answer tricky questions – e.g. discussing tricky questions as a group discussion to elicit tips and suggestions of other parents. Below, we’ve also included some ideas for further group discussion on each topic.
Q1: As a parent, what should I do if I have concerns about a food allergy or food intolerance?
ANSWER for group:
- Food allergy involves an immune-system reaction whereas food intolerance results in a chemical reaction to food that’s otherwise harmless. While the symptoms of allergy and intolerance can be similar, symptoms related to food allergy typically present quickly, while food intolerance may take 12- 24 hours to develop. Professional advice from a qualified professional is important to effectively diagnosis and manage food allergy or intolerance. If a parent is concerned about food allergy or intolerance, advise them the stop offering that food and to seek advice from a GP, Accredited Practising Dietitian or food allergy specialist.
- See the My Baby Now app ‘avoiding allergies’ section.
- ‘Food allergies and intolerance’, Better Health Channel
Further group discussion question:
- Has anyone else sought advice from a health professional regarding a food allergy or intolerance?
Q2: What’s the latest advice on commercial baby food pouches?
ANSWER for group:
- Some parents find food pouches are an easy option, but they come with some disadvantages compared to fresh snacks like a ready-to-eat banana or avocado. While babies start with smooth, pureed foods at around six months, progressing onto mashed foods with soft lumps by around seven months of age is developmentally important for most babies (NHMRC, 2012). This is also a time of food exploration, so parents should offer different foods for young children to smell, taste and touch. An over-reliance on pureed foods including food pouches that only encourage sucking may limit a young child’s acceptance of different textures and tastes. It may also limit self-feeding skills with their hands, fingers and spoons as they develop.
- There are also additional costs associated with food pouches when comparing the cost per kilo. e.g. fresh bananas approx. $4/kg, compared to one banana-flavoured pouch of food approx. $2 for 1 x120g pouch. This means the cost per kilo for pouches is approx. $32/kg – around 8 x the price per kilo for fresh bananas. The environmental costs also favour fresh foods, including no leftover rubbish that comes with pouches. While you can recycle baby food pouches as soft plastics, it takes a lot more resources compared to fruit skins in the compost.
- My Baby Now app article on ‘packaged baby food’ in the ‘solids’ topic. MBN also has ideas on simple snacks for parents on-the-go.
- NHMRC Infant Feeding Guidelines 2012
- ‘‘Kids are sweet enough” campaign for parents about sugars in toddler foods, developed by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC), with resources for parents including a short video.
- The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll (April 2022) found that 9 out of 10 parents want better regulations for baby and toddler foods such as food pouches. Further details on the OPC website
Further group discussion question:
- What are some other healthy snacks that your baby enjoys when you’re outdoors or on the go?
Q3: What are some practical ways to follow the “no screen time” recommendations for young children?
ANSWER for group:
- The Australian 24-hour movement guidelines recommend no screen time for young children under 2 years, and no more than 1 hour per day for those aged 2 – 5 years. The guidelines aim to minimise screen time in the first years of life as they are growing rapidly, and do not include interacting online with family and friends.
- Busy parents may be looking for helpful ways to entertain their baby at busy times like preparing meals or making phone calls. Tips include – giving baby a special toy that only comes out occasionally or playing music without a video or screen.
- Check out the INFANT blog on mindful screen time with your baby.
- Refer to the My Baby Now app and INFANT facilitator’s guide for ideas on engaging babies without using screen-based device. Note: MBN app is designed for parents’ to view, not to show their babies!
- Australian 24-hour movement guidelines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers (birth to 5 years).
Further group discussion question:
- What are some ways that you entertain your baby without a using screen device?
- Being active: growing evidence to support the importance of tummy time in a baby’s growth and development – research article by Carson et al. (2022).
- Vegetable consumption: best practice guidelines and resources on increasing vegetable intake – CSIRO VegKit: Increasing Australian Children’s Vegetable Consumption.
Watch the video update from the INFANT team’s Professor Kylie Hesketh on the value of tummy time. Submit a comment about talking about tummy time with parents – have you heard any common questions or helpful tips on tummy time from parents?
Read the comments from others and the INFANT team. Click the ‘mark complete’ button once you’re ready, then select ‘next lesson’ for the next step.
As others have said, I talk about it at every visit as part of play and learning discussion. When the opportunity presents itself I like to sit on the floor with the baby to demonstrate tummy time positions. and holding. Otherwise I use the baby doll we have to demonstrate different positions.
I discuss tummy time at any given opportunity but definitely promote starting at the 2-week KAS consult if not at the home visit.
I would like to see reference to the ‘prevent allergies.org.au’ website on the app. This is a great resource for helping parents to feel confident with introducing the 9 allergenic foods, how to recognise reactions and what to do. Family friendly language, pictures and videos. A great accompaniment to the My Baby Now app that I always promote.
I talk with parents about making tummy time the baby’s ‘default’ position on the floor for play time and promoting short frequent sessions. Rather than the parent thinking ‘How many times has my baby done tummy time today?’ When parents ‘timetable’ tummy time, they often miss the session as the baby is tired or not in play mode!
I know that this isn’t specifically covered in INFANT but am I correct that baby wearing can also count for tummy time? Even if not as beneficial as tummy time on the floor/firm surface it is a great way to have baby with you hands free to allow some things to get done without reliance on screens. Many of the mothers I have met from other cultures find the lack of baby wearing in Australia surprising.
i love the comments on feeding pouches – so important to encourage their use only in an emergency
I find it common for parents with babies who struggle with tummy time to quickly give up in offering it. But the tip given in the video is the most effective one I see in practice- offering short periods frequently throughout day and building this up with time.
Most parents seem all over tummy time by the time they come to INFANT. We always encourage using INFANT session as a good tummy time opportunity. Parents have shared themselves some of the tips they use with the group without much prompting, eg. using the rolled up towel, short bursts, having something interesting to engage bub while on tummy.
During an INFANT group I find it helpful to get the parents to put the babies on the ground in a circle on their blankets. We usually put toys in the middle. when the babies are on the ground and usually one is doing tummy time happily. I have led discussions with parents where they will come up with ideas on how to get babies to enjoy tummy time e.g. propping up with a towel, getting on ground with them, using toys to engage, short amounts e.g. 2 minutes at first and build up.
We’ve not yet run any sessions, however there are so many fantastic insights, ideas and suggestions to take from you all to try once we do.
I talk about and demonstrate tummy time at the 2wk kas.
I talk about preventing plagio and also the benefits of getting baby stronger this has benefits when baby does roll especially in the cot.
I suggest tummy time at nappy changes , using board books, mirrors, toddlers or adults on the floor at the baby’s level.
I love recommending parents prop up a board book in front of babies for tummy time, this can prolong the time they are happy on the floor as there is a new thing to look at on each page and parents can start to introduce reading to babies from an early age regardless of their own level of literacy
I always demonstrate tummy time at the 2 week visit and link it with babies future development.
I find families who are apprehensive about doing tummy time with their babies are more receptive to the idea when shown exactly how to do it with their baby. A lot are visual learners and seeing how to do it and the variety of different ways they can practice makes it less daunting for them particularly if they say their baby hates tummy time. I show them how to do it on the floor, holding on their tummies, on their chest, in front of mirror or a window etc. I speak about tummy time at every visit and focus on lots of opportunities for tummy time throughout the day rather than length of time on their tummies.
I will discuss tummy time right from the home visit. I find role modelling helpful, and always talk about tummy time when rolling babies prone during examination.
Parents seem to be reassured when I talk about finding small moments of time in the day to do tummy time eg. rolling on to their tummy after a nappy change. I also encourage them to consider how much tummy time their baby is able to do right now, and use that as a baseline and steadily build up that time moment by moment, day by day.
If a parents states their baby hates tummy time I usually discuss other ways to encourage tummy time and demonstrate with a book propped up in front of the baby. Also suggest a favourite toy or parent laying in front of the baby for face to face time Parents are often surprised how well their baby who they say “ Hates “ tummy time shows them that are actually enjoying the experience. If baby does not tolerate i use the pamphlet showing across the knee etc but do try and discuss safety on the floor and importance of being on the firm surface
I admit to not thinking often enough about the importance of tummy time. There is always an opportunity to do this when parents attend groups so I will be encouraging them to place their mats on the floor and give their babies this important experience for that motor skill development. I have also learnt a lot from the comments made by others in this forum
Tummy time is something that I discuss at every MCH visit up to 12m at least.
A comment i hear frequently is “but my baby hates it”, and when I inquire many are putting them on the floor so i encouraged parents to join in with their babies when doing tummy time. Be that on the floor, on the change mat, after a bath with a gentle massage, on their own chests while sitting on the couch, and interacting with them to keep them distracted.
Encouraging tummy time and prone play is part of everyday advice at each MCH visit for parents, including reasons why it is so beneficial for babies’ and their gross motor devt. Many parents ae concerned about the floor being unsafe or unclean, so I discuss some everyday incidental opportunities to get off their back, which also helps reduce/reverse plagiocephaly. eg at each nappy change, after each feed, having a cuddle on your chest or over your shoulder/legs etc. Great for Dads and other family member to do too. For younger babies, frequent short bursts over the day are better tolerated than longer sessions as we know.
Discussions about tummy time at each KAS highlights the importance of it for their baby’s development.
Tummy time is so important for babies and I encourage parents whose babies do not like tummy time to lay on the floor chest to chest, gently sing and rock body from side to side. I like a timeframe is given in this video as families always want to know exactly how much tummy time is needed per day
I use the following ideas with Parents….
1-2 minutes fully supervised at each nappy change throughout the day, prone play on a gym ball or across Parents knees to make it more fun.
During INFANT sessions, I set up a large mat with age appropriate toys and encourage parents to place their babies on the mat for tummy time. We talk about the importance of building up the amount of time children spend on their tummies as this builds the strength required to progress to rolling, sitting, crawling. Parents have shared strategies such as using a rolled up towel to prop baby up under the armpits.
Teaching parents the benefits of unrestrained time is so important – most parents don’t realise how much time infants can tolerate on their tummies and it is rewarding to see them take on the advice.
A lot of parents are surprised at how early you can commence tummy time & what is considered tummy time i.e- chest to chest in early days.
Most first time parents are just nervous about putting their baby on the floor, talking about it at every visit from birth helps normalize and encourage it.
a topic of discussion from birth and all KAS visits in first year
good resource and some good ideas from previous comments
Great additional resources thanks
As everyone says, we always promote and demonstrate tummy time from birth and at each visit.
I have always encourage tummy time from birth and ask at every visit until baby is able to sit up on their own. If parents say that they do it on their chest, I will encourage them to allow baby to have it on the floor. I compare it to adults doing a push up in bed vs hard floor. More effective on a hard surface!
I have always advised tummy time in it’s different form from birth. I have also started discussing the advice from the Australian 24 hour movement guidelines since completing the online Infant training (where I first learned about them). The parents who say their baby doesn’t like tummy time are reassured when told that small blocks of time added the the daily total is just a beneficial as longer blocks!
Discussion about tummy time is vital the the growth and development of the infant
I discuss tummy time from birth and its importance and the many ways it can be achieved, I use the “raising children” pamphlet with pictures and SMS to the families
I check in at each KAS visit about tummy time and its importance to their baby’s development. I also like to give examples of the many ways that they can incorporate tummy time into the everyday routine.
We talk about tummy time during every New Parent Group session, and encourage families to join us on the mat each week for ‘play.’ We also mention the different ways on which they can do tummy time.
The evidence provided in this video is really useful and can facilitate our discussions with parents about the importance of tummy time on their babies’ overall development.
At every KAS visit I like to talk about tummy time and the importance of it for their baby’s development.
I like to discuss the importance of tummy time from birth.
I like to discuss and demonstrate tummy time at the home visit and again for each subsequent KAS visit. I talk about different ways of giving baby tummy time and the importance of this positioning even from birth.
I encourage tummy time on the floor or on a change mat as part of routine care to accumulate more and more time. I liken it to being an activity that helps overall growth and development. I will encourage more parents to look at tips on the my baby now app as well.
I have a poster in my office which points out all of the muscles tummy time helps develop. I will now refer families who are needing extra ideas on how to help their baby enjoy tummy time to the mybabynow ap.
I always encourage Tummy Time from Birth and it is great to know about the accumulative 30 mins a day for under 6 months.
I encourage tummy time from birth when babies are awake & supervised starting with chest to chest with parents then progressing through to time on the floor as parents feel more comfortable. It’s important to let parent’s know it’s hard work at first for babies but as they get stronger they manage it better & this only comes with more time on their tummy – this seems to encourage persistence.
Great tip re: 30min/day
Great idea Dee. Encouraging attachment and tummy time.
I like Leonie have always suggested tummy time with every nap change from early weeks. I talk about tummy time being great for the beginnings of learning to crawl and spatial awareness, neck and back muscle development.
Incidental tummy time adds up and then it is not a chore for you or your baby.
The movement guidelines for early years 2017 discusses the importance of physical activity, sedentary behaviours and sleep recommendations.
I think tummy time needs to be seen and viewed in this context as well. Tummy time is the physical activity component. If a baby is tired and showing tired signs there will not be any point in doing tummy time at that point in time as the baby is tired. Find times for tummy time when the baby is alert, and not tired or hungry.
Interesting to hear the research on tummy time-I encourage tummy time but good to know 30 minutes accumulative per day for under 6 months.
I often encourage parents to roll their baby onto their tummy as part of a nappy change. I discuss safety and not leaving babies up on change tables but more of a way to assess skin, give their back a little rub and sing a song. It can be a nice introduction for tummy time for mother’s who struggle to get down on the floor shortly after birth or for families who worry about putting young babies on the floor with siblings.
I often frame it as a way to receive messages from another part of their body to help develop their spatial awareness.
Love your idea, Leonie