Becoming a dad is very rewarding. But regardless of whether this is your first child or your family is expanding, being a dad can be challenging and sometimes stressful. To help new dads and dads-to-be, NSW Health and the University of Newcastle have partnered to provide a free text message service called SMS4dads.
It’s free to sign up to SMS4dads. And once you do, you’ll receive helpful information on dad to baby bonding and dad self-care, plus parenting tips and helpful links, directly to your phone.
Almost 1000 new dads and dads-to-be have registered for SMS4dads in Western Sydney since the program started last year. Are you a new dad or dad-to-be? Register now.
“The text messages have been invaluable and I couldn’t have known just how important and how much I needed to receive these short and helpful messages” – feedback on SNS4dads from a dad
How SMS4dads Works
You can start getting messages from 16 weeks into the pregnancy. And you can continue receiving them up until your child turns 1. You’ll be sent about three short messages a week.
Messages are timed to match the development of the foetus or baby, so will suit your baby. If you sign up one week before the birth your messages are synced to that stage of pregnancy. If your baby is two months old, your messages will be for that age.
“It helped my partner to feel part of the ‘baby process’, and that his experiences were also important. The messages gave us both confidence and helped to avoid fights when extreme fatigue set in” – What a Mum/ Partner thought of the SMS4dads program
What Do the Messages Say?
A dad may get a message ‘from’ their baby saying…“Although it’s noisy in here, I will be able to hear your voice from about 20 weeks. Try telling me about the things we will do together.”
Some messages have links to other sources of information… “If you’re both up for it, then there’s usually no problem with having sex during pregnancy. It will not harm the baby. Visit this LINK for more info.”
And other messages are a check in to see how dad is going. These interactive text messages are timed around common challenges, such as baby crying or getting intimacy back. Dads can reply with a click and be directed to online help or more information.