Responsive Feeding in Tough Times (RFiTT)

What is responsive feeding?

Responsive practices are those that attend to a young child’s hunger and fullness cues such as allowing a child to decide how much they eat, rather than pressuring them to consume all the food on their plate. These practices have been shown to decrease child fussiness,  improve child eating and support healthy growth.  Responsive feeding trials such as NOURISH, have largely been conducted in families with high levels of income and education. However, families who experience economic hardship and food insecurity face additional challenges with child feeding.

Promoting the use of responsive feeding practices amongst parents experiencing food insecurity 

The Eat, Learn, Grow trial is the outcome of the Responsive Feeding in Tough Times research program. It was developed through a collaborative process with parents and answers the following critical questions: 


Are current key messages and approaches in infant feeding fit for families experiencing hardships?


How can we best engage families in developing infant feeding advice that fits their unique experiences?


What would a program look like if families had a real say?


Eat, Learn, Grow is a low intensity, brief digital program that uses innovative learning technology to deliver support directly into parent’s hand via their mobile phone. It includes a series of 12 digital lessons of mixed format such as video, audio bites, and interactive content. It incorporates the quotes and short stories of parents who participated in the research to reflect the experiences and strengths of real families.  

Our Approach  

This project collaborates with parents living with disadvantage in order to describe the meal-time environment and feeding practices of families experiencing food insecurity. The aim of R-FiTT is to work with families experiencing hardship. As well as the health and community workers who support them, and together design a program about infant feeding. This program will strengthen parents’ confidence and skills to tune into their baby and feed them with connection.

Target Group

  • Parents/Caregivers with a baby aged 6 to 24 months old 
  • Experiencing economic hardship (‘Do you sometimes struggle to pay the bills?”) 
  • Access to a smartphone or tablet 

Research Objectives

  1. Explore responsive feeding practices in households living with disadvantage and food insecurity.
  2. To co-design intervention messages and modalities of delivery with families experiencing food insecurity and with health and community stakeholders
  3. Deliver a program to promote responsive feeding practices and asses feasibility and acceptability. Evaluate the impact on parental feeding practices.


So far, we have explored responsive feeding practices in a variety of households living with disadvantage. From here we have collaborated with families experiencing disadvantage,  to codesigned messages and modalities of delivery.

“we have learned from families that the intervention needs to be integrated with what families already do. There is no capacity to do anything extra. The intervention needs to be at their fingertips, clear, easy to use and accessible.”

What to get in touch or be involved in this research?

Please contact our research fellow Dr Kimberley Baxter via below Contact Form or