Bringing Baby Home: UK fathers in their first year

13 June 2022

Bringing Baby Home, our review of empirical evidence about UK fathers and fatherhood in the first postnatal year, explores who dads are; what they do as caregivers, and what influences this; what impact they have (on children and mothers); and how services engage with them.

What we found confirms an unfortunate truth: NHS systems are not set up to engage with, assess and support new fathers, despite clear evidence that there is a strong case for routine engagement with them in the perinatal period. Three clear reasons underpin the case for better support:

  1. Fathers’ physical and mental health impact significantly on babies’ future health and wellbeing. Negative infant outcomes that have been shown to be associated with fathers’ characteristics and behaviours, include heightened risk of obesity, respiratory problems and impaired cognitive development
  2. Mothers want and can benefit from better father-engagement, through improved birth outcomes and experiences; better-supported birth recovery and initiation and continuation of breastfeeding; and enhanced potential for sharing of caregiving roles
  3. The perinatal period is a ‘golden moment’ for identifying and addressing health problems and behaviours among fathers themselves.

Download the reports

Read our ‘headline summary’ in Unhappy Fathers Day: the ‘dad-shaped hole’ in UK postnatal services.

Check out our factsheets

We have produced a series of free factsheets summarising key messages from the report, aimed at families and the people who support them.

The aim of these factsheets is to a) help new fathers make sense of their impact, even if services are not addressing them, and b) provide a clear rationale for the health professionals, employers and others around them, to value and support them in the vital first year of their babies’ lives. Download them as PDFs below:

Book some training

If you’re a practitioner, design or commission services, and/or hold a training budget, do please take a look at our training brochure: we offer lots of options, from one-off webinars to more in-depth courses and consultancy. All are designed to build your knowledge, skills and confidence around father-engagement – whether you work in midwifery, health visiting, primary or social care, or in other, related services.

The Bringing Baby Home report and supporting documents, all published in June 2022, are part of our Contemporary Fathers in the UK series, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Check out the rest of the series here.

Please consider making a donation to support our work.

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