About DadPad, DadPad Products Overviews, Key Content

About DadPad: What is the DadPad?

Posted on 2nd March 2023

What is the DadPad?

The DadPad is the essential guide for new dads, developed by the team at Inspire Cornwall CIC, with the NHS.  It’s an unapologetically dad-specific product, which is grounded in research and which has the intention of engaging and encouraging new fathers to become involved throughout the perinatal period, from pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Why is the DadPad needed?

20+ years of evidence-based research demonstrates that positive parenting by dads has a significant impact on the family dynamic.  Despite this, efforts to engage and empower new dads have been underwhelming and sporadic.

Most of the existing, supposedly-parent-focused information on the internet has clearly been written specifically for mums, reflecting the years and years of history where childbirth, childcare and all associated functions were 100% the exclusive domain of women; it doesn’t take long, for example, to find references such as ‘when you give birth’ or ‘when you are breastfeeding’, which have been shown to put dads off and make them feel excluded.  And then there’s the fact that many resources also use discriminatory and stereotypical phrases, like ‘getting dad to help mum with baby’ – if you can’t immediately spot the issue with that one, try switching the proper nouns around and see how it sounds… 🙂

Right now, though, we have a once-in-a-generation, golden opportunity to build and grow a dad-inclusive empowerment strategy.  Current initiatives – such as the Better Births Strategy and those relating to perinatal mental health – as well as Maternity Services Liaison Committees’ priorities are aligning with an increased willingness from dads to play a full part in family life.  Grasping this chance to give dads what they are asking for can only bring benefits to us all as a society.  You can find out more about how DadPad can be used as part of a dad-focused, whole-family strategy by health and wellbeing organisations here.

What topics does the DadPad cover?

The hard copy DadPad currently covers the following topics:

  • Health Visitor Team
  • Feeding
  • Holding
  • Crying
  • Sleeping
  • Changing
  • Cleaning
  • Getting to know your baby
  • First Aid
  • Child development and milestones
  • Supporting each other
  • Legal information
  • Parenting advice and support

Who is the DadPad for?

The DadPad is for all fathers who want to give their child the very best start in life.  Whether he is about to become a first-time dad or wants to ensure that he can still cover all the bases with a new addition to the family, the DadPad is the low-cost, high-value resource that dad will want to always have within arm’s reach.

Why do new dads need it?

As a new dad, it’s common to feel excited but also left out, unsure or overwhelmed.  The DadPad provides dad with the practical skills and information that he needs, which helps him become more confident in his new role. This enables him to not only feel included and involved as a parent, but also to become an active and engaged co-parent, alongside baby’s mum.  As an ally to his partner, he will be best placed (and now sufficiently informed) to be able to spot potential issues within the family unit and to know the steps to take to resolve these. Knowledge of the roles played by health professionals will encourage him to seek and welcome their advice and support when necessary.

Using the DadPad brings many benefits, including helping and enabling dads to:

  • reduce his own anxiety by getting involved and gaining in confidence;
  • learn how to create a strong bond and healthy attachment with his 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 mental ill-health, in both and his partner, and learn how to get help early.

When should the DadPad be used?

The DadPad is best utilised as early as possible during pregnancy, around birth and beyond, as it provides guidance relating to babies and children up to the age of two years. It’s particularly useful to have during paternity leave.

But isn’t it sexist to have written a resource solely for dads? What about other family demographics?

You can find out more about the reasons why the DadPad needed to be written specifically for dads here, but some of the key reasons for writing it as ‘the DadPad’ (and not, for example, ‘the ParentPad’) are:

  • health professionals wanted a resource that they could use to engage and include new dads and dads-to-be, as this group were acknowledged as lacking targeted provision, resources, involvement and engagement during the perinatal period, despite figures from The Fatherhood Institute (2018) suggesting that “almost all births (95%) are now registered by a mother and father together with around 85% of parents living at the same address (married or cohabiting)”. These dads – and their families – therefore need and deserve to be supported;
  • research evidence has established that dads need to be explicitly address in order to engage and feel included: using the word ‘parent’ in the perinatal context will make most people (and dads in particular) read it to mean ‘mum’; and
  • research evidence has also confirmed that the postnatal needs of a male dad with a female partner will be quite different to those of non-birthing parents in different relationships.

We do, though, have a new resource – similar to the DadPad, but aimed at and written for the specific needs of LGBTQI+ non-birthing parents. You can find out more about the Co-ParentPad here.

How do I get a copy of the DadPad?

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 for free at an antenatal appointment or via your family’s Community Midwife or Health Visitor.

To purchase a copy, you can do this either via our DadPad website or our Amazon store.