Sources of help for fathers during the Covid-19 crisis

10 February 2021

Families in the UK, and around the world, are experiencing unprecedented challenges, ranging from enforced proximity to enforced separation, not to mention coping with financial stress and the difficulties of keeping small children entertained.

Here are some links to sources of information and advice that you might find useful as you navigate your way through this…


Covid-19-related information/advice

UK Government advice, including about employment, education, school closures and childcare

Additional Government guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak.

ADDED 10.02.2021: Since the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, we and others have been campaigning for a common sense approach to allowing fathers (and other parents) into antenatal appointments and scans, and labour/birth. We are part of #ButNotMaternity, a collective of volunteer campaigners, aiming to ensure that maternity restrictions in the UK are evidence based and proportionate to the risk of birth trauma as well as Covid-19. You can find out more on the But Not Maternity website, which features practical actions you can take if you are personally affected by the restrictions.

Here is our article summarising what to expect as an expectant dad, published during the first lockdown (April 2020); please not that things have moved on since then, so please do not take the advice contained within as gospel.

ADDED 10.02.2021:This is our survey, which aims to help build a picture of fathers’, mothers’ and professionals’ experiences of, and perspectives on, NHS maternity services during the pandemic. We launched this in August 2020 and it remains open. If you haven’t already, do please contribute, and share with other people who might want to take part. We expect to publish the results in mid-2021, in the hope that our findings can help inform the NHS’ plans to reflect on and learn from the important changes that have occurred.

ADDED 31.01.2021: Birthrights (also part of #ButNotMaternity) published an article drawing on latest legal advice, at the end of January 2021, making clear that trusts which as well as preventing fathers/ partners from attending scans, don’t allow them to be involved in the appointment remotely, may be acting unlawfully and unreasonably: read more here. UPDATED 15.02.2021. Birthrights is also pushing for more ‘common sense’ guidance in the NHS around birth partners (in most cases, fathers) – arguing, for example, that being a birth partner and visiting your baby in a neonatal unit should exempt one from self-isolation regulations: read more here.

Some trusts are proving better than others at communicating with parents about the do’s and don’ts of hospital attendance during lockdown. Here’s a case study, published by Birthrights, about how one NHS trust has taken a considered, proactive approach to communicating with parents at this time.

A top tip from several dads: make sure your wife/ partner has a phone charger with a long lead if/when she goes into hospital – especially if she is having a c-section. This can help her communicate with you much more easily, saving her from having to bend and lean to use her device, and saving professionals valuable time having to help her get plugged in comfortably!

ADDED 10.02.2021: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Information for pregnant women and their families was updated in January 2021, and includes wide-ranging information, including for birth partners.

Guidance from the Royal College of Midwives & Royal College of Obstretricians & Gynaecologists about the provision of home births (NB, This is guidance aimed at professionals, exploring the impact of midwife shortages and how services might best organise themselves in response. It may help explain why home birthing options are or are not currently available in your area).

Parenting through Coronavirus: advice from the Institute of Health Visiting

Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group has produced this page to help expectant and new parents know whether to seek emergency care.

World Health Organisation Parenting in the time of COVID-19

Parent Club Scotland has produced this guidance about keeping your family safe.

Iconcope has produced some importance guidance aimed at protecting babies from shaken baby syndrome (men are more prone to shaking babies, so this is well worth a read).

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations has produced this listing of Covid-19 support and resources for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Doctors of the World and the British Red Cross have produced this summary of latest Covid-19 guidance in 48 languages.

What happens if you lose your baby to miscarriage during lockdown? Here’s a case study and some useful information from the Miscarriage Association.

The Co-SPYCE study, a collaboration between the Universities of Oxford, Southampton and Reading, is exploring how parents of 2-4 year olds are coping in the Covid-19 pandemic. Take part in their survey here.

If you are unable to be present during your partner’s labour, for example because you have the virus, you could suggest she consider a birthing app like the Positive Birth Company’s Freya App, to help with breathing techniques.

Fatherhood Institute guide: Supporting breastfeeding during Covid-19.


General information for expectant/new dads

NHS information for expectant dads and partners

NHS guidance on visiting inpatient facilities (including maternity services) – issued in June 2020, and superseding the guidance issued in April.

NHS information for pregnant women

Online birth preparation courses: Birthing for Blokes; DaddyNatal online

Information about home births from NCT.

Dads Rock is running online parenting workshops (free but with a suggested donation of £10) – find out more here.

If you can access Netflix, check out its Babies series, especially episode 1, which explains how vital a role dads can play in caregiving. Here’s the trailer (link to Youtube).

National Childbirth Trust: How can dads bond with their baby

Family Lives: Becoming a dad

Dad Pad

Tameside Early Attachment Service: Getting it right from the start (Youtube video)

NCT courses

As part of its Tiny Happy People resource support parent-baby communication, BBC has published this guide to mental health for new dads.


Fatherhood websites

Fatherly

Dad Info

The Dads Net


Local and other support groups

Leeds Dads

Dads Rock Edinburgh

Dad Matters UK

Dangerous Dads Network

Dope Black Dads


Combining earning and caring

Citizens Advice

Working Families

Working Dads

If you’re enjoying spending time with your young children, maybe you could enjoy a career looking after other people’s! Our MITEY website is packed with resources aimed at supporting more men into careers in early years education. If you are a man based in the North West of England, you could even join Kids Planet’s apprenticeship programme, and train to be an early years educator. Find out more here.


Protecting your mental health

Dads Matter UK

Fathers Reaching Out

If you are experiencing problems with your mental health, please reach out to trusted and supportive friends, family members and/or your GP. You may also find links to useful support via the MIND website.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact The Samaritans (tel. 116 123) or the CALM Zone, or call 999.


Protecting your relationship

Relate

Tavistock Relationships: General online couple counselling and Free online support for parents in London

Relationships Scotland


Sharing care in separated families

Cafcass guidance for children and families, clarifying the official advice on children moving between households.

Child Law Advice

Citizens Advice guidance on making child arrangements.

Families Need Fathers has published useful guides to help you navigate child arrangements, child maintenance and universal credit. Here’s a link to the FNF Covid-19 page.

Only Dads is running daily online chat sessions and has published useful Covid-19 links. Click here.

Shared Parenting Scotland and Both Parents Matter (based in Wales) have produced this survey to find out about separated parents’ sharing of care during the pandemic.

Family Mediation Northern Ireland are still supporting separated families remotely.


Some activities to do with babies/toddlers

Check out the Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign.

National Literacy Trust Family Zone.

Watch/listen to our Celebrity Story Time video clips (on Youtube).

EYFS Home, a start-up created since the Covid-19 crisis hit, offers a simple, organised programme of activities for 3-5 year olds.

Book Trust Home Time.

PACEY (the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) has pulled together a range of activities and other resources on its Learning at home page.

If you have a child due to start primary school in September, here’s a useful BBC Bitesize article from a head teacher, about how you can help get them ready.More to follow….


Found a useful resource and want to share it? Please email Jeremy at j.davies (at) fatherhoodinstitute.org or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

Tags: , , , ,