Baby Buddy A free parenting app for dads A free parenting app for dads ‘I’ve struggled quite a bit mentally. I was sleep deprived and down in the dumps. The health visitor always asked my partner how she was doing. I know this sounds awfully selfish, but I was trying to get help too. I needed someone to speak to.’ - Father to a baby born March 2020 (3 days pre-lockdown) Mums generally have an extensive support network and lots of resources compared with dads. Dads don’t necessarily want to engage in group support and find it difficult to discuss pregnancy and parenting with their mates. St Michael’s Fellowship in Lambeth helped us set up interviews and a focus group with young fathers that they’re supporting. The dads we spoke to want to be involved in their partners’ pregnancy and to share parenting, but are anxious about becoming a father. They worry about how it will change their relationship with their partner and are unclear as to their role throughout pregnancy and as a parent. 'Exclusion of dads causes unnecessary stress and worry and makes expecting mums feel unsupported and dads unvalued. Encouragement and support for dads to be involved at every stage is very important.’ - Father to a baby born during lockdown They said they can feel isolated without friends or family to turn to and are often ignored or treated dismissively by healthcare professionals. In terms of the parenting advice that they’d like, they said they prefer film and graphics to lots of text and want an app that is interactive. 88% of this age group have smartphones and they keep them with them 24/7. For them an app, such as our free parenting app, Baby Buddy, is a familiar, accessible medium which they prefer to leaflets, books, internet or even face-to-face communication. We also spoke to health visitors, midwives and social workers in Lambeth and Southwark, who were all very positive about an app for dads. They stressed the benefits of an engaged dad who can provide valuable support for his partner during a time of emotional and physical stress. They said that dads can reassure their partner as her appearance changes and encourage her to have a healthier pregnancy, attending appointments, eating healthily and giving up smoking. Dads can also recognise the danger signs of not coping or post-natal depression. Dads are more likely to remain in the relationship if they’re included, involved and valued from the start. Our daily, personalised information for dads and male caregivers – over 600 bite-sized entries! - has been developed with Future Men, The Fatherhood Institute and through our Parent Panel. Our ongoing activity includes creating videos with Dadvengers and Music Football Fatherhood, with a focus on being as diverse and inclusive as possible. Download the free parenting app, Baby Buddy, now, for pregnancy information and all the best parenting advice, together with advice for dads on looking after their mental health.