TIPS & INFO

There's no rule book

Being an expectant or new dad means learning on the go.

There’s so much to come to grips with in the transition to fatherhood – and there’s not a lot out there that speaks directly to dads.
We’ve put together some resources with tips and info, along with some video clips of other dads and their partners sharing their experiences of parenthood.

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Babies & Crying

All babies cry

On average new babies cry for 2- 4 hours per day and cry most often between 6 to 8 weeks after birth. This can put a lot of  strain on new parents.

Most crying is normal and it’s a baby’s loudest and clearest form of communication.

Parents have to figure out the best way to settle their baby and this can be tricky because many babies take a long time to work this out and for themselves.

The good news is that all babies stop crying – eventually.

 

Dads Antenatal Classes

SMS4dads run Zoom sessions for dads

SMS4dads offers Paternal Antenatal class via Zoom. 

The course is delivered by Dr Chris May, paediatric nurse with a long standing interest in fathering and parenting partnerships.  Chris has facilitated paternal antenatal classes for over 15 years

Zoom sessions were developed in response to fathers not being able to accompany their partners to regular antenatal appointments during the COVID pandemic and when many antenatal parenting programs were not running.

We are continuing to offer Paternal Antenatal Classes via Zoom. Get in touch for more info and to find out when the next Dads Antenatal Session is scheduled.

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Richard’s research revealed possible long-term negative impacts on the children of dads with mental health issues. Fathers’ depressive symptoms in the first year after the birth predicted behaviour problems in their children years later.

“If dads’ mental health has such a dramatic impact then we need to be screening dads for depression, not just mums,” Richard explains.

In response to these limitations, Richard and his team have designed a smart-phone based program that allows mobile connection for new and expectant dads.

Participants receive texts containing information and links, and self-report their mood. If the mood tracker identifies dads as needing extra support, they will be offered a phone call from a counsellor trained in this area.

Following the success of the pilot of the SMS4dads program, Funding was received to enable a National roll-out.

“When dad’s miss antenatal classes or activities, they also miss out on contact and links to other people.  They may never get the chance to say to anyone, look I’m really stressed,” he points out.

“SMS4dads is a way of bringing dads into the health system and keeping them linked in with services and support,” explains Richard.

Richard Fletcher

Associate Professor, PhD

Richard credits a varied career, a talented and innovative team, and much life experience for affording him the insight needed to address the challenges related to actively engaging dads.

After completing his masters in Medical Science, studying epidemiology, Richard earned his PhD focusing on fathers and attachment.

“Fathers are invisible in many places, and that is endemic. Not because people dislike fathers, but because the system is set up to be focused on mothers.”

Some services and organisations are aware of the need to engage dads, but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.

“When people are challenged about this, they generally want dads involved,” Richard affirms.

“Often, however, they just don’t know how to do it.”

Richard works with health professionals on issues related to fathers, and has delivered many antenatal programs for expectant dads.

He credits his own family with giving him an understanding of the role of fathers needed to make his work relevant.

“I have three daughters and two stepdaughters,”

“My kids would say they taught me just about everything I know and they’d be right. They’ve taught me a lot, and still do.”