In a study funded by the Ministry of Social and Family Development from 2016 to 2018, researchers found that new Singaporean dads had inadequate information and training by healthcare professionals on how to care for their newborns. As a result, they felt overwhelmed, helpless, and stressed out. Here at SingaporeMotherhood, we believe this is something that needs to change. Read on to learn more about support for new dads and where to find it.
Antenatal and Postnatal Classes for New Dads
Changing societal norms see new dads wanting to be more involved in taking care of their newborns, and that’s wonderful. The problem is that they don’t know how! Thankfully, husbands are welcome at antenatal classes at all the maternity hospitals in Singapore these days. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not just accompanying your wife there. You’re also there to learn and get hands-on, just as much as she is!
Looking for a class dedicated to preparing dads-to-be for the challenges ahead? Check out the Daddy’s Explorer Program at ParentCraft by Dr Wong Boh Boi. Known as the Baby Whisperer, Dr Wong is a veteran in this field. With a little effort on your part, she will turn you into an infant-care expert in no time.
We all know about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their newborns. It regulates the infant’s heartrate, enhances immunity, and encourages breastfeeding, just to name a few. But did you know that dads can and should practise skin-to-skin too? Learn more about this and other ways to soothe your newborn in Mother & Child’s Dad & Baby Massage Course.
(See also: 10 Ways to Soothe a Crying Newborn)
Men Can Suffer Postpartum Depression Too
Yes, baby blues are not limited to just the mums. In fact, studies have shown that as many as one in 10 men suffer PPPD (paternal postpartum depression)! It shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, men face similar fatigue and stress levels a new mum does from struggling to care for a newborn, sleepless nights, and all. And you might not realise it, but hormones can be the culprit too!
Worst of all, new dads are more likely to suffer from a lack of emotional support. So they express their depression through anger, aggression, irritability, and anxiety. Some may withdraw and turn to addictive behaviour, such as drinking, smoking, gambling, or video games. If left untreated, depression can affect your ability to work and even lead to suicidal thoughts.
If you are struggling to cope and suspect you might have PPPD, please get help. There is no shame in it and your baby deserves to have a daddy at his loving best. Open up to your wife, confide in a buddy, join a support group, look up counselling services, consult your GP, who will be able to refer you to a therapist… or all of the above.
Extra Support for New Dads
Centre for Fathering is a non-profit organisation that promotes active and involved fathering. They offer Coaching for Fathers at all stages of parenting, as well as a Beginner Parenting Programme for first-time parents.
Facebook group Daddy Matters is a local community of fathers from all walks of life. They arrange get-togethers with the aim of improving the state of dads in Singapore — their own and others. Join the group to find like-minded dads for support.
And SingaporeMotherhood has a 376-strong and growing community on one of our Telegram groups that’s dedicated to new dads. Join it here!
If you know of any other dedicated-to-daddy support channels, please share it with us!
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