Wiltshire dads seek NHS baby advice

9:00am Monday 18th February 2013

More than 8,000 people in the South West have signed up to get online advice about bringing up baby and more than 2,000 of those are dads, according to new figures released by the Department of Health today.

A total of 2,269 dads in the South West are among 25,000 across England equipping themselves to take a leading role in caring for their babies by actively seeking NHS parenting advice.  These figures, collected in December 2012, show for the first time who is signing up to the Information Service for Parents, an online service for help and advice about all aspects of parenthood.

Today, the Department of Health is announcing that more than 100,000 people have signed up to the scheme and at least a quarter of those are dads.  As of December 2012, 8,306 people has signed up in the South West.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “It is great news that so many South West dads have taken the chance to sign up for the NHS Information Service for Parents.

“A new baby is a wonderful thing but can be stressful, and it is important mums and dads do everything they can to share the load. Dads make up a quarter of signups to the service - which is encouraging, but we want to see those numbers increase even more.

“Most pregnant women want their partners to be involved throughout pregnancy, childbirth and beyond and this desire is also shared by most partners. We recently announced £25 million of funding to improve NHS maternity units which, among other things, will be used to make it easier and more comfortable for dads to support their partners and be more involved.”

The Information Service for Parents gives free advice from a trusted source via email, texts and videos on a range of topics including choosing the right childcare, how babies develop, what immunisations baby needs and how to deal with sleepless nights.

Since May, the number of dads independently signing up has increased. Although the numbers are still small, nearly 400 signed up independently in December compared to around 150 when the service launched in May. Lots of mums are also signing their partners up to the service, meaning they want dads to be more informed and involved too.

Dads in London are most likely to sign up with almost 6,000 so far, followed by dads in the South East with nearly 4,000 signups. Dads from the North East are least likely to sign up, with just under 1,000 signups since May.

The service has been available for just eight months and although a large number of dads have signed up so far, the proportion of dads to mums signing up has remained static. We want more dads to sign up and get more involved in bringing up baby.

This month the information available on the service was extended to give relevant information on bringing up babies up to the age of nine months, and by April 2013 it will be expanded even further to cover children up to 18 months of age.

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