First-time fathers learn the ropes

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  • by John Turner

A free training course to bring expectant fathers up to speed on basic child care attracted so few takers initially, the hospital wants to publicise it.

Originally launched last November, the course is designed to explain the basics of baby care to new fathers before they are thrown in at the deep end with a screaming child.

Recent course graduate Paul Cairns, an accountant from Douglas, said it had been a useful exercise ahead of the birth of daughter Amelia, now six months old.

‘I had no prior knowledge whatsoever so it was definitely worthwhile,’ he said.

‘It’s stood us in good stead as there is no other course directed at fathers, but there were only two of us on the course when I did it. It was good to build up a knowledge base and to ask questions, particularly as it’s our first child.’

Charles Jessup, coincidentally also an accountant, from Colby, completed the course ahead of the birth of his now four-month-old daughter Lyla.

‘I heard it taught basic parent craft so I thought it would be a good idea to go on it,’ he said.

‘You get taught all the basics like how to change a nappy, how to bath and dress a baby and look after her. I didn’t know how to do any of that. The course ran outside work time and only took around two hours so I would highly recommend it to anyone expecting their first child. Much of it seems like common sense now but it didn’t at the time and it wouldn’t unless you have already had experience with young members of your family. I didn’t know anything before hand.’

The course is run by Noble’s Hospital midwives Dianne Rubery and Anne-Marie Steele, and fathers also learn other basics like feeding, handling and bathing the child which, Mrs Rubery said, was partly about building confidence.

‘We found loads of dads had never handled or had anything to do with a baby,’ she said.

‘We’ve had a successful pilot period and we are keen to publicise it so we can reach as many expectant fathers as possible.’

The course runs once a month on a Tuesday and though the course’s popularity has been growing, with five or six attending recent sessions, staff still want to promote it and get more fathers to realise the benefit of going along.

Anyone who would like to book themselves a place on a course should call the hospital on 650030.




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