A father’s bond with his baby is important, both for the dad and also his child. But it can be difficult for men to know where to find the advice and tips that they may need during pregnancy and early parenting – so that they can best support themselves, their partner and most importantly their baby.
Developed at the University of Newcastle, SMS4dads is an innovative way to connect fathers with information to help make this challenging time easier to navigate. Red Nose is excited to partner with the SMS4dads team to help promote the service and work with SMS4dads to provide practical support to bereaved fathers.
Beginning from 12 weeks of pregnancy, and through to 6 months after birth, expectant fathers and new fathers can sign up to SMS4dads. Once registered, they will receive three text messages a week to help them make the transition to fatherhood.
Some messages provide tips and encouragement, while others give information about the baby’s developmental milestones. The messaging offers ways for dads to be mindful of their own health and wellbeing while providing practical ways for fathers to support their partner during pregnancy and the early weeks after birth.
Interactive MoodTracker texts are interwoven through the messages to give dads a way to check-in and let SMS4dads know how they’re doing. If a dad says he’s not coping, a trained health professional will make contact with him to follow-up.
Associate Professor Richard Fletcher from the University of Newcastle explains ““Dads don’t want to be on the sideline. They want to be involved as much as they can. But they can feel overwhelmed and out of their depth in the lead up to the birth.”
“For dads, the health and welfare of mum and baby are paramount. However fathers need to be provided the right tools to support their family, and care for their own welfare. Dads often have a lack of knowledge about pregnancy, but are open to new information.”
“SMS4dads stops dads feeling isolated. It helps dad and mum work together, to recognise and support each other’s needs and help them be better parents.”
Red Nose Co-CEO Jackie Mead says that SMS4dads fills an important information gap for fathers. “SMS4dads helps support fathers’ relationships with their babies and offers a way for dads to really become part of a parenting team. It also provides a simple pathway to access services if they feel they need support, either before or after birth.”
“Red Nose has partnered with SMS4dads to assist in developing tailored information and offer appropriate services to fathers across the country, especially in regional and remote Australia. We’ll also be supporting the launch and on-going promotion of the service through our own networks with parents and healthcare professionals.”
“Another way that we will be working with SMS4dads is to develop information to provide practical support to bereaved fathers. In the tragic case of pregnancy loss or sudden infant death, a father’s needs become even more acute. Providing fathers with the right information, at the right time, can have measurably positive outcomes for a family’s mental health and wellbeing.”
SMS4dads is available nationwide. To register, dads simply need to register their details on the website.