Course Overview

Brief

This Course will address four aspects of feeding success in babies under 6 months old and look at how successful infant feeding is not just dependent on how much the baby drinks, but also how the feeding relationship and environment contribute to success or struggle.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use your understanding of feeding development to educate mothers in order to ensure appropriate development is occurring
  • Identify common problems with feeding to implement early interventions to improve nutritional intake of the infant
  • Use knowledge of effective assessment techniques to assess a feed to ensure improved outcomes for both mother and infant
  • Link management strategies with best practice to formulate a management plan to minimise the risk of poor feeding practices developing

Topics include:

  • Establishment of infant feeding
  • Common problems with feeding
  • Assessing a feed
  • Development of a management plan

Target audience

Midwives and nurses working with young babies, including those working in paediatric or neonatal settings, as well as maternal and child health nurses.

Purpose

Gain a better understanding of the broad range of factors affecting successful feeding, consequently ensuring confidence in assessing infant feeding and being able to advise parents what approach will be most effective.

Need

Exclusive breastfeeding is the globally accepted gold standard for feeding infants up until at least 6 months of age, with Australian government dietary guidelines confirming that this “provides babies with the best start in life and is a key a contributor to infant health.” However, there are some instances in which a mother cannot breastfeed her infant, and Australian guidelines were updated in 2012 to reflect these developments in infant feeding in the Australian context. It is important that parents are informed and educated in relation to the choice to bottle-feed their infant. Alarmingly, statistics showed that of the 96% of breastfed babies in 2010 in Australia, only 39% were exclusively breastfed until 4 months of age, and only 15% breastfed until the recommended 6 months of age. Whilst breastfeeding education is available in many formats, a broader education for the parents of this large number of infants being bottle-fed is imperative. Feeding is a parenting task that can take up to approximately 40% of the day in the early months of the infant’s life, and parents who struggle with worries about their baby feeding need to receive help before the problems become entrenched.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.

Educators