Torrens House is a community residential service in Adelaide which is part of the South Australian Child and Youth Health Service (CYH). Families are offered support on a live-in basis for 3.5-4 days through the week, from Tuesday to Friday. This is a free service and caters for families with children aged to 12 months. Parenting support is provided for issues relating to feeding, sleep and settling. Referral often follows on from the day stay program and there is more opportunity for intensive education and support. Staff comes from a range of health care disciplines. Child and family health nurses, a mental health nurse, doctors and social worker form part of the Torren’s House team.
Services Offered by Child and Youth Health:
- Parent Helpline is a 24 hour/7 day a week service. Parents can ring and speak with a nurse who has expertise in supporting families with young children. This is covered by the cost of a local call for South Australian residents.
- Day Service is offered at some of the larger child health centres. Parents are supported by a child health nurse for the day. Feeding, sleep and settling and parent-child relationship building are some of the areas which can be focused on. If necessary, referral on to Torrens House for a residential stay is organized. This is a free service.
- Family Home Visiting is a service which can be provided for up to two years. Every family is visited by a child health nurse soon after the baby’s birth. If necessary, and certain criteria are fulfilled, home visiting can be extended.
- Health Checks are attended at community child health centres. These are offered by child health nurses at 1-4 weeks, 6 weeks, 6-9 months, 18 months and 2.5 years. Pre-school checks, immunisation, medical and physiotherapy checks can also be arranged where necessary.
- Hearing Assessment is available to children aged between birth and 12 years. A referral is necessary to access this service from a child and family health nurse.
- Parenting Groups are run Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. They cover a range of parenting issues as well as specialty groups for new parents.
Parents can contact any of the services provided by Child and Youth Health Service to enquire how they can be supported. All CYH services are free and covered by Medicare.
Contact Details for CYH Resources:
Family and Baby Program at Torrens House
Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service
295 South Terrace Adelaide SA 5000
Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm Telephone: 1300 364 100
Hearing Assessment Centre
Child and Youth Health Head Office
295 South Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Telephone: 8303 1530
295 South Terrace
South Australia 5000
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday
Telephone: 61 8 8303 1500 (general enquiries)
1300 364 100
1300 13 17 19
Child and Family Health Centres
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday
1300 733 606
h3. Settling Techniques Suggested by CYH:
Young babies need their parent’s help to soothe and settle. They cannot change their behaviour as a result of how their parents respond to them.
- Secure attachments in early childhood form the basis for good mental health.
- Parents are advised to look for their baby’s tired signs which are a cue for settling young babies to sleep. These can be yawning, grimacing their face, stretching or grizzling.
- It is worthwhile following a flexible routine before settling young babies to sleep. Feeding and then settling them in a quiet, dark room is often useful. CYH support the SIDS and KIDS guidelines about safe sleeping.
- Wrapping and rocking, soothing and cuddling are good ways of encouraging young babies to settle. A warm bath, gentle massage, another feed, rocking in a pram or sling can help to soothe a restless baby.
- It can be helpful to have some background noise such as a radio or washing machine going whilst settling.
- Parents need to look after themselves and not neglect the basics. Regular meals, fluids, rest and exercise help to boost energy levels.
- By this age many babies are learning about the difference between day and night. Many have learned how to sleep a little longer overnight.
- Wrapping in a light cotton or muslin sheet can still be useful. Try to be consistent with every settling period.
- Babies love to be played with at this age. When parents try to give more interaction and socializing through the day and quiet, calm care overnight, it helps babies to learn the difference between night and day.
- At 3-6 months, babies often need 2-3 day sleeps of a couple of hours each. Try not to let them sleep too late in the day though, because this can impact on their night time waking.
Babies from 6-3 years:
- From around 6 months most babies are having the majority of their sleep overnight. They still need around 2 day time sleeps of a couple of hours.
- It can be worthwhile offering a late night feed, around 10pm, to discourage waking overnight for feeds. This is often called a “dream feed”. Try to focus on offering milk feeds and solids through the day and evening, rather than lots of feeds overnight.
- Babies of this age love routines and rituals. These help to form sound attachments and a sense of security.
- At this age, babies can wake overnight because they feel insecure and need reminding that their parents are still close. Reassurance, cuddles, soothing and patting can all help to calm a wakeful baby.
- Place your baby into their cot awake and encourage them to go to sleep there. Sleep associations are easily formed when parents cuddle or feed their baby to sleep all the time.
- There are lots of ways for parents to try when it comes to settling their baby. What works for one family may not work for another. Be flexible, realistic and do what is reasonable for you and your individual baby.
Check www.cyh.com for more information.