About DadPad, News
About DadPad: DadPad in 2021
Posted on 17th December 2021
2021 has been another challenging year for all of us, but we’re fortunate and grateful that we’ve managed to remain busy in a positive way that’s helped us continue to get our resources out to new dads, enabling us to keep supporting them, their partners, their new babies and their families. As always, a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported US this year, enabling us to keep on doing what we love – supporting dads, supporting parents, and supporting families.
We started the year with a bang, launching in West Sussex on New Year’s Day itself! This followed training events for health practitioners back in November 2020, which Julian was an integral part of. We were especially delighted that the training events covered the launch of both DadPad AND ICON within Sussex; ICON is a programme that we’re always pleased to be connected with, sharing as it does essential information for new parents on coping with crying.
For the rest of January and into February we took things quite quietly, as we all went into lockdown – and the joys of juggling homeschooling, working from home, and keeping fit and well became our overwhelming priorities. We kept ourselves busy getting everything ready for a very busy March…
…when we launched in FOUR new areas! We went live in Lincolnshire on 1st March – again having first been involved in a couple of training events for health practitioners – and then in Berkshire on the 3rd. At the end of the month, the app launched first in Derbyshire on 30th and in Luton & Bedfordshire the day after.
We also contributed to Safer Sleep Week – which ran from 15-21 March – with a new blog post giving dads information and guidance on how to keep their babies safe whilst they sleep, and links for sources of helpful advice.
In April 2021, along with other #FatherhoodFriday blogs, we published our first ever blog aimed at non-dad co-parents. Written by Georgie from our team, the piece focused on identifying key sources of support for transgender and LGBTQI+ parents. Looking at and with other parenting demographics is something we’ve been working hard on in 2021, as Georgie has taken the lead on running focus groups, gathering ideas and feedback and drafting our new Co-Parent Pad, which we’re looking forward to launching next year, alongside writing a few more blog posts for LGBTQ+ parents.
May saw us publish our first guest blog for 2021, this time coming via Ali Beckman at Puddle Ducks. We’ve been delighted to have been able to work with the Puddle Ducks team for a number of years now, as they helped us write and support us in keeping under review the ‘Swimming’ pages in the ‘Getting to know your baby’ section of both the DadPad and the DadPad app.
June is always a busy time at DadPad, with both Fathers’ Day and International Fathers’ Mental Health Day falling within the month. As is always the case, we wrote and published a new blog post specifically for the latter event – organised by our good friend, Mark Williams – and this year we thought it would be helpful to share with new dads some guidance and suggestions on what to do and where to go to seek support if they feel that their mental health is beginning to suffer. We followed this up with a guest blog post written by another friend and ‘dadvocate’, Scott Mair, who shared his personal experience of PTSD with us, as part of PTSD Awareness Month.
We also launched the DadPad app in two more new areas, with Northamptonshire going live on the 18th of the month and Bexley, Bromley & Greenwich following on the 21st.
July and August
The summer is often a ‘quieter’ period at DadPad, as many of our NHS commissioning contacts and teams are taking some much deserved annual leave. We also usually aim to do the same, to enable us all to try and spend some quality time with our families which – with all of us living in beautiful Cornwall – we had some great opportunities to do.
That doesn’t mean we did nothing, of course! ‘Behind-the-scenes’ we were quietly pootling away on a number of longer-term projects, including getting a grant application completed to fund our app reboot in 2022, pulling together first drafts of our next two resources – the Co-Parent Pad and the MumPad – and continuing to work on getting apps ready for launch in the autumn.
September saw us chalk up our eighth new area launching their DadPad in 2021! The 27th of the month was the turn of Warwickshire, and we were delighted to get really good publicity in the area, with Julian and Scott Mair getting the chance to speak on the local radio station – BBC CWR – all about DadPad and why resources like this are so important. Scott is helping to champion DadPad across the county, as he is already working closely with healthcare professionals and maternity units in and around Warwickshire and the West Midlands, offering support for paternal mental health as well as helping to educate parents and professionals on the importance and benefits of supporting paternal mental health. Scott said loads of lovely things about DadPad, including:
…dads …want to know this information, they are very rarely told it, and – when they do look for it – the language and the way that [the information] is slanted… is geared at mum, and it is a different role. So having it in a language that’s written to a dad, from a dad, is very, very rare – and that’s why I think it will be helpful.
At the end of the month, we took part in the first ever ICON Week – a week which aimed to raise awareness of infant crying, including how to cope and prevent incidents of abusive head trauma in babies, which cab occur as a result of frustrations and loss of control by parents and carers. It was great to work with a number of our existing ‘DadPad areas’ – including in particular the fab team at West Sussex, who helped to organise and co-ordinate a lot of the ideas for this week – to help support families in their locality, and to once again team up with the amazing people at ICON to bring their ‘babies cry but you can cope’ message to the fore.
We wrote blog posts on a whole heap of useful topics this month, tying in with a number of key dates and awareness events, including World Mental Health Day on the 10th, Baby Loss Awareness Week and the Wave of Light on the 9th to the 15th, Stop Smoking advice for new dads as part of ‘Stoptober’ month, and a round-up of expert advice for helping your baby cope with the clock change on the night of the 30th.
International Men’s Day – which falls on 19 November – gave our final two areas for 2021 a great excuse to plan a launch. We went live in Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells and also in Buckinghamshire, bringing our total of new areas launched this year up to a very satisfying TEN! After a relatively ‘quiet’ year in 2020 when most of our commissioning areas and their teams were busily tied up coping with Covid and the changes that that brought to everyone’s working practice, it’s been so satisfying to see so many of these ‘slow-burn’ apps finally get completed and launched. We’re over the moon at how many dads and dads-to-be across the country now have free access to an app which supports THEM, recognises THEIR needs and speaks to THEM directly.
With International Men’s Day this year focusing in on the aim of ‘Better relations between men and women’ – something which speaks to us very clearly at DadPad, as that aim underpins a lot of what we’re trying to achieve – we also published a new blog post for the occasion. Written once again by Georgie, it is another article in our growing body of articles on breastfeeding for dads, this time looking at the ways in which dads can help their partner with breastfeeding positions and attachment.
And that brings us right up to the last month of 2021, where you find us preparing for three more launches in the first few months of 2022, working with other new areas to start their commissioning process get underway, interacting with our technical contacts about the exciting new upgraded app platform for the New Year, and also getting ready to start the printing process on the first of our additional new DadPad products: the Co-Parent Pad.
Yes, it’s been another testing year for all of us, but we’re going to focus on all the good things we’ve achieved – both for ourselves, as an organisation, and for all the dads, families and health professionals who are benefitting from the DadPad resources – and keep going to hopefully accomplishing even more in 2022!
From all at Team DadPad, thank you for your support again in 2021. We wish you, your family, your friends and those who matter to you a happy and peace-filled Christmas, and all that you wish for in 2022. ? #dadsmatter