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Supporting the perinatal needs of Fathers: New resources
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Supporting the perinatal needs of Fathers: New resources

International Men’s day was on the 19th November. To mark it Jeremy Davies explores the resources provided by the Fatherhood Institute to support the needs of fathers.

There’s a huge lack of well-written, evidence-based information designed specifically to help men navigate their personal journeys into fatherhood – and we know that maternity services and other family support services often struggle to engage effectively with fathers, even in the perinatal period when they are very likely to be ‘in the room’.

This matters not just because fathers need help themselves, but because well-supported fathers can provide vital support to mothers. We know that during the Covid-19 pandemic, fathers have been routinely excluded from maternity care –leaving dads feeling unprepared.

More maternity services are now open than at earlier points in the pandemic, but we know that some are still imposing heavy restrictions. Only this week, we have joined Birthrights, AIMS, Pregnant then Screwed, But Not Maternity, Birth Trauma Association, Doula UK, Queer Birth Club and Paternal Mental Health in calling on the Welsh Health Minister to revise maternity service visiting restrictions in Wales (for more details on this, see Birthrights’ press release).

New and powerful antenatal and postnatal guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) now require healthcare professionals to enable fathers/partners to attend appointments (including remotely), offer them a chair in the consultation room, and provide them with information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, infant care, bonding and supporting their baby’s mother.

We know that midwives and other practitioners are under huge pressure, and we want to help them engage more effectively with men. New resources are now available to help.

 

 

Becoming Dad

Written in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, this new guide for expectant and new fathers aims to help men make sense of what’s happening to them; look after themselves and the others around them; and do the best possible job of becoming a confident father.

We’re making it available free to fathers, and professionals working with families, via our new Time with Dad campaign. Here’s the link: https://mailchi.mp/fatherhoodinstitute.org/becoming-dad

If you fill in your details there, we’ll send you a copy, and relevant updates about the campaign.

 

Our new training brochure

Alongside Becoming Dad, we have also updated our Training Brochure, which now includes details about the range of courses we offer to help professionals engage more effectively with, and provide high quality support to, men as they work out how to become the best dad they can be.

Within you’ll find several courses focused on the perinatal period:

 

Becoming Dad – Perinatal peer-support sessions for expectant and new fathers

Our Becoming Dad perinatal peer-support sessions offer small groups of expectant fathers the opportunity to learn caregiving skills and navigate the practical and emotional challenges of early fatherhood – supported by other men who have recently become dads.

 

Supporting Fathers in the Perinatal Period

The transition to parenthood has been called ’the golden moment‘ to engage fathers, and this unique, evidence-based training course provides participants with knowledge and strategies to embed change in their agency and in their own practice.

 

Father-Inclusive Health Visiting Services

This popular course, first piloted through the Burdett Trust and evaluated by Institute of Health & Society, University of Worcester, supports staff to explore and develop strategies to engage with new fathers, develop the confidence, knowledge and skills to work effectively with them, and discover a ‘whole team’ approach to supporting the whole family.

 

What New Dads Need to Know (and How We Might Support Them)

Building on many years’ innovation and collaboration, we have developed a framework setting out what information new fathers need, and when they need it. Using this, we will help you define the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your messaging to fathers, including around their own and their partner’s mental and physical health, couple and family relationships and baby and child development.

You can download our 2021/22 Training Brochure (and watch our little 1-minute animation about it) via this link: http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/2021/training-brochure/

What you can do to help

  1. Recommend Becoming Dad to the families you work with, your colleagues and networks

Send them this link http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/2021/becoming-dad/.

  1. Book a training course, or commission some bespoke support

Save our brochure onto your computer, or bookmark and share it with your colleagues. Here’s this link: http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/2021/training-brochure/.

And do feel free to contact our Head of Training Jeszemma Garratt to book a no-obligation chat about possible training options. You can email her at j.garratt@fatherhoodinstitute.org.

 

 

  1. Interested in our ‘what works’ network?

Funding permitting, we are looking to create a ‘what works’ network in spring 2022, through which we will consult with parents and practitioners, promote best practice and help NHS and family services ‘build back’ from the pandemic in ways that make the most of fathers’ and partners’ involvement and support. Find out more and/or register your interest.

Finally do also watch out for the new version of Best Beginnings’ Baby Buddy app, for which we wrote the fathers’ pathway – making it the first app in the world to offer personalised daily information to dads on their pregnancy and parenting journey. This is another resource free to dads, which professionals may find useful to recommend to families they work with.

 

Jeremy Davies, The Fatherhood Institute

 

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