Dads2b classes offer nervous fathers hands-on experience

John Paul Stothard with his son Danny, nine months, at the antenatal class. Picture: Toby Williams
John Paul Stothard with his son Danny, nine months, at the antenatal class. Picture: Toby Williams
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FIRST-TIME dads are to get a helping hand with burping, bathing and nappy changing at the Capital’s first and only antenatal classes for fathers.

City charity Dads Rock noticed nervous fathers were asking for help and has now teamed up with NHS Lothian to offer hands-on experience before the birth of a child.

The free Dads2b classes will start today in Wester Hailes, offering a range of essential skills such as bathing a baby, how to put a nappy on and how to soothe a newborn.

Thomas Lynch, national development manager at Dads Rock, said: “It’s something dads who attend our playgroups have been asking for. We are really excited about these classes and can’t wait to work with the new dads to help them be the best dads that they can be.

“It’s a great partnership and we’re really pleased to have NHS Lothian’s expertise.”

Ray Kirk, from East Calder, said similar classes in West Lothian helped him prepare for becoming a first-time dad.

The 30-year-old said: “The classes were a great opportunity to learn about the life-changing event that is having a baby. I don’t have any significantly younger siblings or cousins, so I had no real experience of young children. In a ‘guys only’ format, the classes gave me a chance to chat about any concerns or worries I had in a very informal environment.

“Our daughter was born by C-section and for the first two weeks I was doing most things like bathing, dressing, changing nappies and the practice I’d had at Dads2b was invaluable.

“The course is a really great idea, I had totally underestimated the impact of a child on my life and this support for first-time dads is great.”

The classes will run in four-week blocks and dads are encouraged to attend the classes as close to their partner’s due date as possible, usually around 32 weeks or in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Andrea Hewitt, parent education co-ordinator at NHS Lothian, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to join forces with Dads Rock to provide this service in Edinburgh.

“The course has been specifically designed with dads in mind, helping them to explore fatherhood, develop confidence in caring for and bonding with their newborn as well as providing support to expectant mums.”

NHS Lothian already provides a similar service in Midlothian and West Lothian and there are plans to roll it out in East Lothian in the future.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com