Baby training has been a hot topic recently, with lots of settings coming to us asking if it is something we do… firstly I want to say… yes, it is!! Secondly, I want to tell you why!
I cannot tell you how shocked I have been to hear how many settings do not know that your baby room team, or team working with under 2’s, need specific training. It actually states in the EYFS…
“3.32 For children aged under two: At least half of all staff must have received training that specifically addresses the care of babies”.
The reason for this is that caring for babies and under 2’s is not the same as caring for a 4/5-year-old. Under 2’s are so reliant on adults for every aspect of their lives. Feeding, changing, stimulating, and sleeping. They can’t do these things without us.
Think about having a brand new, young apprentice in your baby room. They have never had a job before, they have no siblings and they’ve not got any baby training. You ask them to feed a bottle; do they know how to make the bottle? The health and safety requirements of wearing gloves and an apron or sterilising the bottle, how to make up a bottle even.
Do they know how to hold a baby when feeding a bottle to keep them safe? Do they know about eye contact and creating a relaxing environment? What could happen if a baby was given the wrong bottle and had an allergic reaction or if the baby was being held incorrectly and choked? This wouldn’t just be a small mistake; this could be life-threatening!! You may think it comes as second nature or common sense, but it’s not! This is just one example of how important it is to ensure your under 2’s staff are suitably trained… The list goes on; trust me!
We also have to remember that the first 1000 days of a babies life are the most important; those 1000 days are from the day they are conceived to the time they are 24 months. So if a baby starts with you at 6 months, you have 18 months of massively impacting these vitally important days. During this time, their little brains, bodies and immune systems grow and develop significantly, making it an extremely important time for development.
The attachment theory has a huge impact on this development too. This is why we stress that babies NEED a key person and a buddy system needs to be in place. Bowlby believed that children were born with an innate drive to attach to their caregivers as a way of survival. Now in the modern day, we take those little people from their main caregivers and expect them to ‘be fine’ in a nursery. How often have you had children start with you and be really unsettled? However, once they have built those bonds with key people in the room, they settle and enjoy their time.
It also links back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; if the babies feel safe and secure, are fed, warm and clean, then they can start to develop and grow. There is so much learning around baby training and I cannot stress how important it is. It is something we feel very passionate about at Jigsaw.
So do me a favour, go back to your setting and look at the team in your baby room. Have they got adequate training? Sit in the room and observe them feeding a bottle, putting a baby to sleep, and feeding them their lunch. Is everything in the room happening safely? Are they making eye contact and interacting with the babies? Are they asking the babies permission before they do things like to wipe their faces or change their nappies? Is the key person system robust and is there a buddy for when that key person is away? It is a statutory requirement to get this right but more than anything, we NEED to be getting this right for our babies and under 2’s 💜
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