by Dr Nisha Brown, Paediatric & Developmental Occupational Therapist
Baby Development Workshops for Parents – Baby Ready, Baby Steady, Baby GO!
Information for parents has never been more readily available than it is today, courtesy of the World Wide Web. But so much information can feel overwhelming, and deciphering what’s just the experience and advise of a few, verses well founded, evidence–based advise derived from quality research studies, can be tricky at the best of times, let alone when you’re feeling sleep-deprived and desperate for immediate solutions!
Interestingly, despite the availability of so much information, it’s not uncommon for parents to feel unprepared for understanding the nuances of their newborn’s behaviour. Antenatal information logically revolves around pregnancy and preparing for birth; but following birth, understanding your baby suddenly comes to the forefront of your needs! Your baby has arrived without a manual, there’s no orientation period in sight for your new role, the job description is either missing–in–action or totally inconsistent with the presenting tasks, and you’re too tired to read anything anyway!
Parents have often reflected to me that this is the biggest, and most important job they have undertaken in life so far, yet one for which they end up feeling a little unprepared. While some people are happy to just accept this as a case of ‘learning on the job’, others would prefer to know a certain amount in advance of their baby’s arrival, and then there are those who are happy with a hasty course in “everything babies” once they feel the need further down the track.
Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, the Baby Ready, Baby Steady, Baby GO! workshop series is designed to bring practical and empowering knowledge to you, the parents, at a time that works for you, whether this is before or after delivery, for your first baby or to help you with the juggle of an additional child in your family.
New findings in research necessitate the continual revision of information provided to parents. Coming from both a research (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute) and clinical (Royal Women’s Hospital Neonatal Nurseries; community paediatrics) background, I seek to bridge the gap between research findings in baby development (physical, behavioural, emotional and neurological) and clinical practice. This has particular importance for the information and advice that is given to parents.
The Baby Ready, Baby Steady, Baby GO! workshops for parents revolve around gaining a greater understanding of babies’ behavioural cues (=clues!) through reading their body language. New evidence is emerging regarding the importance of ‘parent-infant synchrony’ for optimising your child’s early brain development. Being ‘in-synch’ with your baby starts with being able to read their behavioural cues and responding in (developmentally) supportive ways.
The Baby Ready, Baby Steady, Baby GO! Developmental Workshop Series for expectant and current parents includes 3 workshops over the first year (you can attend 1, 2 or all 3):
- ‘Baby Ready’ (antenatal)
How to interpret your newborn’s actions, postures and gestures, minimise stress during activities (e.g. bathing and weighing) and provide comfort during discomfort (e.g. during immunisations).
- ‘Baby Steady’ (birth–3 months)
Making life easier (for you and baby!) by reading and responding to subtle behavioural cues, and learning strategies to support early development (especially self-regulation) throughout your day–to–day activities, including: how to optimise head-shape development; options for managing ‘tummy-time’ without upsetting your baby and you; tips for enjoyable baby massage; and importantly, strategies for looking after yourself.
- ‘Baby GO!’ (7–10 months)
How to support sleep and play skills with babies who are on the go. Baby development – how does it vary, need we worry? Enhancing connections with your baby and supporting early brain development.
The additional knowledge gained from these workshops can help to make all those everyday activities that you do a little less stressful, and play-times more rewarding, for both you and your baby. This knowledge not only gives you increased confidence, but more options, when responding to your baby, and importantly, supports early brain development.
Courses run regularly in and around Melbourne. For further details, dates and bookings go to
About the author
Dr Nisha Brown is a paediatric and developmental Occupational Therapist. She is interested in supporting infant development through translating evidence-based research into relatable, accessible ideas for parents. Nisha has been involved in research and clinical practice at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Royal Women’s Hospital, Mercy Hospital for Women, Austin Health and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Her private practice is based in Clifton Hill, Melbourne.