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Father friendly baby care courses?

(11 Posts)
Dudad Tue 13-Sep-11 20:16:32


I wanted to pick the collective MN brain and canvas some opinions.

I'm due to become a dad in the early part of next year. I'm extremely excited and happy about this and am keen to prepare as well as I can to best support my partner and my child.

Having recently done some browsing on the fatherhood institute web site ( I read an article on what makes a good dad. One of the points was that fathers who have participated in baby-care courses take on more (and better) care of their babies than fathers who have not.

Seems fairly obvious, so off I go to the internet to find out about baby care courses, and am surprised that there really don't seem to be that many that actively encourage the participation of fathers. Particularly of note here are the NCT (The UK's largest charity for parents). Of the 8 courses (Early Days - postnatal) offered by the NCT within my region at around the correct time only 1 doesn't specifically say 'Women only'. There are a few father friendly courses run by some organsiations, but these seem to be spread widely around the UK, and run fairly infrequently. Many antenatal courses do encourage the participation of fathers, and that’s great, however the focus of these is generally up to and including the birth, and don’t seem to include much content on actual baby care.

So my questions for MN are:

1) Can anyone recommend some good baby care courses that are run fairly regularly in the Yorkshire area that do actively encourage the participation of fathers, or even better, are targeted equally at mothers and fathers?

2)What are peoples' thoughts about the apparent mismatch between the generally accepted view that fathers should be as involved in parenting as possible, and the general lack of support for doing so offered by the various parenting organisations?

3)Apart from breast feeding education, which I'm happy to acknowledge would be better done without fathers present, what is it that is presented on the various NCT courses that means that a general ban on the participation of fathers improves the course experience for the mothers that attend?

Thanks for your input.

And please go gentle on me - I mean well ;)

ChameleonCircuit Fri 16-Sep-11 17:41:19

I'm sorry, I can't help with the info on courses, but I would disagree that breastfeeding education is best done without fathers present. I had to do all the research and then tell DH how best to support me. If he'd been in on some classes beforehand it would've been a big help.

Hopefully this will bump your post for someone with some useful information to help out. Good luck!

butterflyexperience Fri 16-Sep-11 19:27:31

What about baby massage course?

I know it's not exactly baby care but will be a great way to bond with baby and will give some suggestions on baby care holding, massage

Have you tried your local Surestart?
Maybe they can give some info

Good luck!

PinkEmily Fri 16-Sep-11 20:35:32

Our local Surestart Children's Centre has several classes for Dads to be and new Dad's. They also have a Dad's 'stay and play' when baby is a little older. I've been on baby massage courses and new parent groups where partners have always been welcome and I really don't think any new Dad would look out of place if he were to be on his own.

I'd definitely look into it, I can't praise them enough.

belindarose Sat 17-Sep-11 18:46:03

Ring your local NCT rep as they really vary. Our antenatal
course was very firmly aimed at both parents throughout. It was also very balanced and sensible. Depends entirely on the teacher.

SazZaVoom Sat 17-Sep-11 18:48:51

Our NCT was for both parents and the breastfeeding session for both too. I second Belinda Rose in ringing your local one/ones (you may have the option of one or more location if you are on the edge of different areas - we had 3 we could have chosen from)

Grumpla Sat 17-Sep-11 18:51:06

My local Surestart centre has loads of stuff aimed at dads including cooking, literacy & numeracy, dad's only baby & toddler groups etc.

I have to say I would NOT have been particularly comfortable having dads at the breastfeeding support clinic I attended, lots of open-air nork wrestling and weeping went on... It kind of helped that I felt everyone else in the room was in the same position! Having said that I do agree that there should be scope for breastfeeding counsellors to talk to male partners outside of the group conger to help support their partners and I believe that many of the helplines etc will do this.

TBH I haven't heard of a "babycare" course for ANYONE, if you're looking for a "how to change nappies / make up formula / soothe baby" etc kind of thing then haven't got any suggestions sorry!

An0therName Sat 17-Sep-11 21:22:16

I agree I havn't heard of a baby care course for anyone either - and me and my DH agreed that we would have liked one -
so I am not sure what the report you read actually meant - havn't got time to look
the nct antenatal course - which are normally very much aimed at couples can I think cover it -although ours didn't really - it might be worth asking - as each teacher does vary exactly what they cover - and the breastfeeding lesson from the nct - part of the class - was excellent and very useful for both my DH and me
post natally - the post natal class from the NCT i am imagine is probably women only I imagine there will be a lot of birth debreif and also bresatfeeding support - and some women might find that difficult with men they didn't know around - I think I would have done
and I am not sure how I would feel if my DH had gone on a class post natally - bye AnOtherNAme just going my course - hmm why don't you just practice on your baby who is actaully here and you havn't seen all day as you have been at work -an

Macey78 Sun 18-Sep-11 22:14:22

Going through the paper just now and have seen an article reporting there will be a dads only course available called mantenatal I think via the Nct in 29 locations across Britain.

Dudad Mon 19-Sep-11 13:10:56

Thanks everyone for your feedback smile

From other information I've received it seem I was mistaken about the content of the antenatal courses in that they do include a large amount of baby-care rather than birth preparation content - so that's good smile

By baby care I think I probably was talking about "how to change nappies / make up formula / soothe baby" etc. Seems a bit strange to me not to give that sort of advice in a dedicated course.

I've read about the mantenatal courses, the pilot trial seemed to go very well, but to be honest I'm not sure I'd want a man-only course. I'd find that as weird and off putting as a women-only course. I've never been a great one for deliberate gender divides, and it seems potentially more divisive and damaging when you bring it into realm of child development.

On the breastfeeding issue, I'm happy to take my lead from DW and the course leaders here; if they think it would be helpful to attend I'll attend, if they think it might make things more difficult for the other mothers then I'll go look at pram specifications or something wink

Wigeon Mon 19-Sep-11 13:26:46

I think there aren't many (any?) dedicated courses on how to change nappies etc because it's easier to get that sort of information from a book.

Re breastfeeding: the NCT antenatal classes usually include a session on breastfeeding for men and women, which I think is very useful and appropriate, and then most areas have specific support groups for women-only, because if you are getting support with breastfeeding once the baby has arrived you are likely to have your breasts a bit on show, and milk spurting around, and many women would feel uncomfortable with men in the room.

I would guess that the NCT postnatal classes are women only because they are a space for women to discuss some of the very women-specific postnatal issues, which can be very sensitive, eg postnatal bleeding, recovery from a c-section, baby blues and post-natal depression, guilt, sleep deprivation. I know some of these are relevant to male partners too, but they would tend to be more intensive for the woman who has given birth (eg partners obviously have a role in helping a woman recover from a c-section, but it's the woman herself who has to recover!).

I would suggest attending antenatal classes with your DW primarily in order to prepare both of you for the birth, and to get both of you talking about other baby-related issues (eg your joint attitude towards dummies, formula, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sling wearing, controlled crying etc and all the other choices you face as a parent). And depending on whether you think you'll be more a routine-based parent or a more attachment-parenting parent, having a flick through a couple of baby books (eg Gina Ford on the extreme of routine, Baby Whisperer in the middle and The Baby Book by Dr Sears on the attachment parenting end of the spectrum). But they won't really make sense until you have a howling newborn!

Good luck with the rest of your DW's pregnancy!

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