Archive for April, 2012

DadSkills ANZAC Day 2012 Competition


Today is the day that Australians commemorate not only the Australians who died at the Gallipoli Peninsula 97 years ago, but all Australians who have served or died in wars, conflicts or peacekeeping operations.

This ANZAC Day, DadSkills would like to honour those men and women who are members of our own defence forces (as well as our allied forces) by offering one lucky person a a free subscription to DadSkills for fathers-to-be .  We honour you for the service you give to keep our country the peaceful and democratic land that it is.  Australia is truly the “Lucky Country” and we feel blessed to live here.

DadSkills is passionate about keeping families connected and understands that pregnancy and childbirth can be emotionally intense times in the lives of men and women, especially when they are separated by distance.  DadSkills also understands that, as a member of our defence forces serving away from home, it can be difficult to find the time to attend antenatal classes, even if you are able to be at home for the birth.

DadSkills Online Childbirth Classes for Men teaches dads-to-be what they need to know going into birth – it covers both vaginal and caesarean births and essential topics including labour, pain coping practices, bonding with the baby and practical tips to make the birth day run as smoothly as possible – as well as what to expect in the first few weeks after the baby is born.

We want to give you the opportunity to go into childbirth and parenthood prepared and feeling confident and for your family to be connected and strengthened.  This competition is open to both men and women.

To enter this competition, simply email  In the Subject line, type “DadSkills ANZAC Day Competition” and in the text type your name, address and regimental number.  This competition opens at 3pm AWST on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 and closes at 3pm AWST on Wednesday, 9 May 2012.  The winner will be drawn by ballot and announced on the DadSkills website and Facebook page.  The winner will also be notified by email.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.


Online Childbirth Classes Keeping FIFO Families Connected


Cath and Sally, two doulasspecially trained in childbirth support, have been supporting women and their partners during pregnancy and birth for over 10 years. During this time they have experienced a boom in the clientele of “fly in, fly out” (FIFO) dads-to-be.

Due to the nature of their work, many FIFO men are unable to attend traditional childbirth classes and often feel left out in the lead up to birth and parenthood. If the timing is right and they are lucky enough to attend an antenatal class, their role at birth is often ignored, the focus of traditional childbirth classes is mainly on the birthing mother.

Enter DadSkills – online childbirth classes for the dad to be. DadSkills was developed by Sally and Cath in response to requests from many of their clients looking for quality information but unable to find it. When presented with the option of reading a book, many dads would ask, “Can I just have a video to watch”, or “Is there something on the internet I can look at?”. The dads to be were always busy when at home but had the time to watch videos while away at camp.

By combining Cath and Sally’s 10 years of childbirth support experience with ‘real-life dad’ interviews and examples, DadSkills aims to give dads to be the tools they need to go into the birth and parenthood prepared. The site helps to equip men with the skills to support their partner and contribute positively to the birthing process.

DadSkills helps to prepare dads to be for both vaginal and caesarean births and covers essential topics including labour, pain coping practices, bonding with the baby and practical tips to make the birth day run as smoothly as possible. As well as what to expect in the first few weeks after the baby is born.

DadSkills  childbirth classes can be viewed via the net 24/7 and accessed for up to four weeks, so new dads can learn at their own pace and are not overloaded with information.

Cath and Sally have found, through their work with FIFO dads, that well-supported men are better prepared and more relaxed in the lead up to the birth. The dads themselves have expressed that during the birth they felt more connected with their partner and less stressed.

DadSkills recognises that the thought of becoming a new dad can be daunting and aims to support men as they make the transition into fatherhood. DadSkills also knows that it requires extra support to keep FIFO families connected but that when families are happy this has a flow on effect into their work.

As well as classes, DadSkills also provides plenty of great free resources for Aussie men, including an informative, regularly updated blog.

Visit to see how they are keeping dads in the loop and helping families stay connected.

The last thing I wanted to do at the birth was to freak out and be asking questions. Being prepared allowed me to be flexible because I knew the labour wasn’t going to run completely to plan.” Richard (Father to Ocea – FIFO dad featuring on DadSkills)

I believe engaged fathers, supporting their partners, are important and providing education and support [to men] is a valuable thing … from what I hear from other guys it is lacking, it’s a bit of a void in the world at the moment.” Pete French (Father of three, FIFO dad featuring on DadSkills)

dad to be – dads to be – childbirth classes – online childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Dads-to-be as Advocates in Birth


A change has begun – we see it in small, subtle ways, change is happening.

Up until at least the 1950s, it was very rare for a dads to be to be present at the birth of his child – there were exceptions but on the whole it was “women’s business”.  In the 1970s, it was more common for dads to be to be present and their role was mostly just to be there.  Nowadays it is expected that the father will be at the birth (whether he is comfortable being there or not – which is another issue entirely) – and not only that he will be present, but that he will advocate for his partner and be her primary support.

How do you advocate for your partner and baby if you don’t know what you can ask for?  Typical childbirth classes don’t tell you everything you need to know – their information is mostly based on birth around the way the hospital runs.  How do you know the right questions to ask to get the information you need to make a decision?  Do you have a care provider who is open and who will have an honest discussion with you based on evidence and allow you to make your own decisions?

DadSkills aims to provide you with information about different events that may occur in childbirth and different choices that can be available to you and encourages you to ask questions and talk with your care provider about what it is you want.

The Other Side of the Glass is a documentary that is being released next month.  This documentary has been much awaited.  It is aimed at fathers-to-be to empower them to protect their babies.  It’s well worth having a look at the trailer.

There are many things you can do to advocate for your partner and baby.  Ask questions, speak your mind – these things can be done in a firm, but polite and respectful way.  Many things happen to women and babies as part of hospital routine that are not necessarily needed or don’t need to happen at that exact time – to make things easier for staff or because of an individual staff member’s opinion, but are not necessarily in the best interests of mother and baby.

I will always remember a story one dad told me.  His baby had been born by caesarean and once they had come back to the room and were settled, I left to go home.  After I had left, it was suggested that the dad go home for some rest.  He stood his ground and refused to go home, so they brought him a mattress to sleep on.  Then the midwife said in an authoritative way that she would take the baby while they slept.  The midwife had only gone a few steps out of the room with the baby before the dad raced after her.  He told her she would not be taking the baby – they had wanted this baby very much and now that he was here, they wanted to look after him.  Bub slept beside dad that night.

So what things are important to you?  Find out how these things can be accommodated at the birth – this is part of the role of an advocate.


dad to be – dads to be – childbirth classes – online childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Introducing Richard – who appears in the DadSkills Online Childbirth Classes for dads to be


Richard is the father of 9 month old Ocea. His approach to childbirth was to be as prepared as possible.

In Richard’s line of work, they have a famous saying – the “6 Ps” – Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.  He wanted the tools to be able to make decisions at the birth in a calm manner and to know what his (and his partner’s!) options were.

Rich knew he wanted to be “hands on” at the birth and had attended traditional antenatal classes as well as prenatal classes with a professional childbirth support person (doula).

As he had never seen a birth, he watched a number of recommended videos to get an idea of what to expect – to see what actually goes on at a birth.  He says, “The last thing I wanted to do at the birth was to freak out and be asking questions.  Being prepared also allowed me to be flexible because I knew the labour wasn’t going to run completely to plan.”

His advice for dads-to-be is simple, “Be prepared”.

Introducing Mike – who appears in the DadSkills Online Childbirth Classes for dads to be


Mike is a father of two.  During his partner’s pregnancy, Mike attended antenatal classes with their childbirth assistant (doula).

During this time, Mike was able to discuss his role at the birth, raise things he was concerned about and talk about how he would be comfortable supporting his partner during labour.  Mike decided that through the birth he just wanted to support his partner emotionally and leave the physical support to their doula.

To his great surprise, during labour Mike found himself becoming more and more involved.  He felt empowered to discuss options with the facility staff to make things go easier for his partner and he felt confident to assist with the pain coping techniques that his partner was using (Hypnobirthing®).

He had expressed during the prenatal classes that he really wanted to stand in the background, but as the labour went on he found himself lying on the ground with a flashlight watching his daughter being born.  Mike describes it as “one of the most emotional moments of my life”.

His advice to fathers to be:  “Don’t be scared, get involved, you won’t regret it.”

Easter: Dads and Play

Here we are, it’s April and Easter is this weekend.  I know it is so clichéd, but where did the first few months of the year go?

It’s true, with children comes a new level of busyness.  As a dad-to-be, you are preparing for childbirth with antenatal classes (including DadSkills online childbirth classes for men!).  Then you’re going through the first year with your new baby, next thing you have a toddler running around and, before you know it, your children are in school and you find yourself juggling homework and out of school activities.

Relief comes at holiday time as you get to press the pause button for a couple of days or weeks.  Such an important time to make sure you are connecting with your kids.

One of the things research tells us is that dads engaging in play with their children is really important for their development and happiness.  Research shows us that after the birth of a baby both women and men experience increased levels of oxytocin (the hormone of love).  While oxytocin is released in mothers when they are gazing at their babies, through affectionate touch and close contact, in fathers it is released through play – by holding your baby and walking around, talking to your baby, showing things to your baby, and through touch.

So your role in play starts right from birth and continues to grow as they grow.

And, as a mum, I can tell you that when I am busy cooking dinner or trying to get something organised, this is where my husband really shines.  When my husband steps in and takes the kids away to have some fun, it takes a huge load off.  Firstly, I am not getting grumpy with the kids because I’m trying to concentrate and, secondly, the kids are having FUN with their dad!

As you take a break this Easter, what sorts of things can you do to engage in play with your child?

  • Create a family tradition involving play (something you do every year)?
  • Take responsibility for an Easter egg hunt?
  • Join a community Family Fun day?
  • Go on a camping trip?
  • If you have a baby or you’re a father-to-be, how about creating a video memory for your baby this Easter?

Here’s an idea from