About the Co-ParentPad, DadPad Products Overviews, Key Content, LGBTQI+ Parents

About the Co-ParentPad: What is the Co-ParentPad?

Posted on 3rd March 2023

What is the Co-ParentPad?

The Co-ParentPad is a quick reference baby guide to support non-birthing (non-gestational) parents, who identify as LGBTQI+. Developed by the team at Inspire Cornwall, with support and guidance from LGBTQI+ parents and perinatal workers, and with the assistance of a Follow-on Cash Grant from Smartline, it’s aimed at providing an LGBTQI+-affirming alternative resource to DadPad.

Why is the Co-ParentPad needed?

A whole range of current national initiatives, research papers and policies have, in recent years, called for greater whole family engagement by maternity, perinatal and other related services, acknowledging the role, importance and needs of all those surrounding the child, and not just the birthing person.

After hearing from LGBTQI+ parents and parents-to-be who had encountered the DadPad, we realised that there was a gap here that wasn’t being filled by other organisations. In the same way that resources aimed at supporting new dads need to be written to meet their specific needs and requirements, a resource for LGBTQI+ co-parents also needed to be carefully researched, written and focused.

What topics does the Co-ParentPad cover?

The A4-sized hard-copy Co-ParentPad currently covers the following topics:

  • Personalising your care: knowing how to prepare yourself and your partner for your pregnancy journey;
  • Supporting your partner during labour: learning more about your role as a birth partner;
  • Holding: how to hold your baby in a safe and secure way;
  • Changing: how to change a nappy;
  • Cleaning: how to wash and bath your baby;
  • Crying: coping with and caring for a crying baby;
  • Feeding: a detailed overview of breast-/chest-feeding and bottle-feeding, for both feeding and non-feeding parents;
  • Sleeping: safer sleep practice and coping without sleep;
  • Bonding: ideas on how to create a good bond and secure attachment with your baby; and
  • Supporting each other: looking at perinatal mental health, relationships and surviving the first few months as a new parent.

Who is the Co-ParentPad for?

The Co-ParentPad is for all non-birthing parents who identify as LGBTQI+ and who want to give their child the very best start in life.  Whether they are about to become a first-time parent or whether they want to ensure that they can still cover all the bases with a new addition, and however that new baby is arriving within their family – birth, adoption, surrogacy, etc – the Co-ParentPad is the high-value resource that new LGBTQI+ parents will want to always have within arm’s reach throughout the perinatal period.

It’s also for perinatal healthcare professionals wanting more information and guidance on how best to support the LGBTQI+ parents-to-be and new parents in their care, to ensure that those people feel safe, welcomed, comfortable and respectfully cared for.

Why do new co-parents need it?

As a new non-birthing parent, it’s common to feel excited – but also left out, unsure or overwhelmed.  Traditional sources of information for new parents are commonly written for birthing mums in heterosexual relationships, which can make other new-parent demographics feel unseen, unsupported and/or discriminated against.

The Co-ParentPad has been written in LGBTQI+-affirming language, using appropriate terminology, and covering specific content that the LGBTQI+ parents and healthcare professionals that we worked with to develop the resource wanted to see included. This content is accompanied by bespoke illustrations which we hope represent the spectrum of parent identities and relationships in the UK today.

Taken as a whole, the Co-ParentPad aims to provide non-birthing LGBTQI+ parents with the practical skills and information that they need to help them become more confident in their new role.  This will enable them to not only feel included and involved – and seen – as a parent, but also to become an active and engaged co-parent, alongside the birthing parent.  As an ally to their partner, the reader will be best placed – and now sufficiently informed – to be able to spot any potential issues within the family unit and to know the steps to take to resolve these.  Knowledge of the roles played by health professionals surrounding the family will encourage them to seek and welcome their advice and support when necessary.

Using the Co-ParentPad has the potential to bring many benefits, including helping and enabling the new parent to:

  • reduce their own anxiety by getting involved and gaining in confidence;
  • learn how to create a strong bond and healthy attachment with their baby;
  • build stronger family relationships by sharing the load and learning how to parent together; and
  • recognise the signs of postnatal depression, and other common forms of perinatal mental ill-health, in both themselves and their partner, and learn how to get help early.

When should the Co-ParentPad be used?

The Co-ParentPad is best utilised as early as possible during pregnancy, around birth and beyond – not least because the opening sections are focused on the parents-to-be’s pregnancy journey, labour and birth. It’s particularly useful to have to hand during the post-birth parental leave period.

How do I get a copy of the Co-ParentPad?

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area of the country where the local NHS Trust or local authority have commissioned either the DadPad app and/or the purchase of hard copy DadPads, you might be given your own copy of the Co-ParentPad for free at an antenatal appointment or via your family’s Community Midwife or Health Visitor.  Inspire Cornwall are aiming to provide sufficient copies of the Co-ParentPads for each of our commissioning areas so that they are able to offer the same level of support and recognition to ALL of their new parents and parents-to-be.

Although they’re not available for individual purchase from our website or Amazon store yet, we hope that they will be soon – watch this space!