A new easy to access information tool is now available to help provide support to first-time dads.
Research shows that fathers have an important role to play in the early days of their babies’ lives, both in supporting their partner and beginning to bond with their child. However less is known about fathers’ needs and experiences during this time.
Over the past year Wiltshire Council has worked with the National Social Marketing Centre to better understand these needs. Fathers reported feeling unable to support their partners as well as they would like due to a lack of confidence, knowledge and emotional and practical skills.
The DadPad, is an online resource and has been designed by new fathers and health professionals to better equip them through the transition to parenthood
This includes practical information, in bite size chunks, on things like feeding, communicating and bonding with their baby, how babies like to be held and help to cope with less sleep. This means dads can dip in and out when they need to and get the information they need quickly and easily.
The DadPad is an online resource which can be accessed online at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/dadpad.pdf and will be promoted by maternity and health visiting services and Children’s Centres.
Wiltshire Council corporate director Maggie Rae said: “We’ve spoken to some first-time dads who felt they would like more tailored information to help settle into parenthood and help them support their partner and baby.
“We think the DadPad will really help them – it’s user-friendly and is full of hints and tips to help new dads truly enjoy the experience of fatherhood, particularly in those early weeks and months, and give them a bit of support and re-assurance.”
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Keith Humphries said: “Becoming a parent for the first time is a fantastic experience but can be a daunting prospect.
“With a lack of sleep and a whole new way of life to adjust to, the DadPad is perfect for dads looking for some help and guidance.”
New dad, 31 year old Craig Bain told us: “Throughout my wife’s pregnancy, apart from taking part in workshops and classes, its difficult to know what to expect when you become a dad, So much of the focus is about preparing for birth. At times it can leave you feeling a little useless, and wondering where you’ll fit in when the baby arrives. Knowing how to support my wife, and how to bond with my daughter have been the biggest challenges.
“It’s difficult to try and find a one stop point of reference for help, there are many contradicting pieces of information on the internet. To have some practical tips on what you can do, and having those all single place would be a huge help”.
Fiona Coker, Head of Midwifery and Neonatal Services at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: “ We know that dads have an important part to play in not only supporting women before and after the birth of a baby, but in their overall development as a family. We want dads to be comfortable as new fathers. Having access to up-to-date, authoritative advice through the DadPad will complement the support that we can give them and ensure that they have the wide range of information that they need to enjoy their new baby.”
Amanda Gell, Midwifery Matron at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust says: “The Dadpad will be a great resource for first time fathers. It supports our philosophy of involving partners in all aspects of maternity care.”
Cathy Gale, Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The first days and weeks with a new baby are a very steep learning curve and having easy access to this information will make a real difference.
“I would encourage all new dads and partners to take a look before the birth, it contains loads of top tips and answers to the questions that everyone has.”
DadPad can be found on the Wiltshire Council website at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/dadpad.pdf
Wiltshire Council would also like to hear from any dad who has used the DadPad to find out what they thought of it. If anyone is interested in providing feedback by taking part in an online survey, it can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/dadpadsurvey