Caring for babies

Provide care for babies CHCCN305AB

This unit is about working with babies to maintain their physical and emotional well being.



1. Respond to babies' cues and needs

  1. Be unhurried, gentle and sensitive when responding to babies to promote a trusting relationship
  2. Appreciate their dependent nature
  3. Closely monitor babies for signs of hunger, distress, pain and tiredness, and signs that they are ready for solids
  4. Give babies physical comfort as appropriate
  5. Make sure they get enough rest, varying according to the age of the baby, their cultural background, their development and their individual needs
  6. Apply safe sleeping practices for babies including prevention measures for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  7. Meet babies' needs for consistent and secure care, in a timely manner
  8. Respect and fulfil babies' rituals
  9. Follow your organization's procedures for changing nappies
  10. For babies with a physical or developmental disability, develop a hygiene plan according to the baby's individual needs.


2. Feed babies

  1. Do your part to meet babies' nutritional needs
  2. Plan menus
    • Vary food according to age, culture, development and needs of the baby
    • Food must be nutritious and include the five food groups over a day, as suitable to the baby
    • Use fresh food wherever possible
    • Introduce solid food appropriately
  3. Prepare food (including cooking) hygienically according to regulations for food handling and hygiene
  4. Warm food and milk and test its temperature
  5. Prepare and handle formulae and expressed breast milk correctly


3. Develop and maintain a nurturing relationship with babies

  1. Interact with babies in both planned and spontaneous ways.
  2. Use routines of physical care as opportunities to interact positively with babies
  3. Take time to get to know the baby, their individual routines, rhythms, preferences and cues
  4. Whenever possible, accommodate babies' individual routines of daily care, rest, and play.


4. Settle new arrivals

  1. Observe primary caregivers and babies for signs of stress or distress on arrival
  2. Begin interaction with the babies while primary caregiver is still present to minimize abruptness of separation
  3. Encourage primary caregiver to take as much time as needed to have a relaxed, unhurried separation from their baby
  4. Establish routines to minimize distress at separation of primary caregiver and baby
  5. Respond calmly and reassuringly to babies' distress at separation from their primary caregivers


5. Provide a secure environment for babies that is appropriate to the setting. (For example, be consistent in giving care, using practices, responding, and following routines.)

  1. Clearly communicate expectations to babies and apply them consistently
  2. Set up the physical environment to provide a relaxed and flexible atmosphere and to accommodate the individuality of the baby
  3. Create a safe and secure environment in and out of doors with equipment of a suitable scale for babies


6. Assess babies' needs and report appropriately. The physical environment may need:

  • spaces for quiet and seclusion
  • to allow movement between different areas
  • to be able to change to adapt to different needs


7. Assess risk to prevent injury. Potential risks may be:

  • Babies learning to eat solid foods
  • Babies/Infants learning new skills such as walking, balancing
  • Particular 'combinations' of babies playing together
  • Babies/infants going to sleep with a bottle
  • Risk of dehydration on very hot days
  • SIDS
  • When babies are attempting an activity that may be beyond their previous ability

Responses to a hurt baby can include cuddling them to give comfort, or applying ice packs, antiseptic cream, or band aids. Your responses to a distressed baby can be to cuddle and give comfort, listen attentively, or talk quietly.


8. Other skills

  1. Respond quickly to emergencies and follow procedures correctly, including making decisions under pressure and administering first aid
  2. Maintain a calm, reassuring manner with babies
  3. Give care appropriately for different cultural groups
  4. Nurturing
  5. Relate well to other people
  6. Appropriate response to attachment and separation anxiety
  7. Manage your time
  8. Identify and manage common childhood illnesses
  9. Write incident records
  10. Treat all parents and children equitably, including Indigenous people
  11. Work with cultural diversity.



Your assessment

You will be assessed in your workplace. Start by taking your assessor on a walk around and show him/her what you do. Your assessor may ask you any questions. During the walkaround, describe in outline your organization's standards, policies and procedures.

Your supervisor will also be asked to give a reference.

Interview/assignment questions

Your assessor may give you these questions as an assignment. If you are assessed through an interview, then you might want to prepare written notes beforehand. However, they should be used only as a guide and you will not pass the assessment just by reading your notes.

  1. In your organization, what is the age limit for a child to be treated as a baby?
  2. Describe the social development of babies.
  3. How can care-giving practices vary between different cultural groups?
  4. Describe different practices and routines used by different families of babies in your care. What is their underlying rationale? (It can be cultural or personal.)
  5. Describe the differences between needs and wants of individual babies of the same age (e.g. rest and sleep/rest patterns).
  6. What is attachment and separation anxiety and how can you respond appropriately?
  7. What kinds of games can you play with babies?
  8. What are your organization's procedures for road safety when transporting babies by car?
  9. Food
    1. Make a list of the kinds of food you deal with and next to each one, give the temperature it must be stored at.
    2. Describe the nutritional needs of babies under one year old.
    3. What role does breast feeding have in meeting babies' nutrition needs?
    4. What role does formulae have in meeting babies' nutrition needs?
    5. What are the stages for introducing solids?
    6. What are the signs of poor nutrition on baby health, including dental health and childhood obesity?
    7. What are the five food groups?
    8. How do you correctly identify the fat, sugar, salt and fibre content in different kinds of food?
  10. Dietary requirements for infants
    1. Describe different cultural practices and beliefs about feeding babies.
    2. What effect to foods and drinks have on dental health?
    3. Explain how to prepare or cook food and formulae
    4. Write a summary of your organization's policies, guidelines and hygiene standards for handling food for babies.
  11. Illness
    1. How do diseases spread?
    2. What are you organization's guidelines for controlling infection?
  12. Abuse and injury
    1. What equipment needs to be licensed and approved (consider cots, pushers, walkers etc.)
    2. Demonstrate the appropriate and safe use of restraints
    3. What are the signs of child abuse?
    4. What different kinds of child abuse occur?
    5. What kinds of unintentional injuries happen to babies and children? What kind are most common?
    6. How do you refer a child abuse case to the Department of Child Protection?
    7. Under state law, what categories of workers must report suspected child abuse?
    8. How would you report a case of suspected child abuse?