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University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital has always been about moms and babies. Now, it’s more about dads, too.
The hospital will kick off the Fatherhood Initiative, offering dads a place to learn the basics — how to hold a baby, how to change a diaper — and the more practical skills of being a father to their child.
Building on a four-year-old program in Baldwin County, the initiative in Mobile is sponsored by the Mobile County Health Department. It’s been active about a year, says Veronica Hudson, but it’s new to CW.
Hudson, the nurse manager on CW’s Mother and Baby floor, looks forward to the program as a way to build stronger ties between baby and dad.
“We focus on moms,” she says. “This is to support the father into the family circle.”
Only the first of 12 sessions will meet at CW every Friday at 4 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room next to Surgery Waiting. After attending one of the initial "kick offs" at CW, dads are encouraged to participate at other locations in the community.
It’s a multi-faceted program, Hudson says, helping dads in more ways than diapering information, “giving fathers the skills they need for real life — skills to take care of a newborn and skills to be part of a family.”
Veronica Hudson, DNP and Nurse Manager of our Mother Baby Unit
If dads need a job, the initiative has job counseling. If they need a GED, the initiative has educational resources. If they need updated job skills, such as computer training, the initiative can offer assistance. It can even help dads who are in jail.
But most of all, says Hudson, it’s to help fathers be part an active part of the family.
The sessions kick off with a video of pro football players talking about their dads – many absent or not good role models. The initiative encourages new fathers to think about their own fathers — a good father? A bad father? An absent father? — and consider what they wish to be as a dad.
During the program, fathers have a chance to network, to discuss serious issues and to support one another. Hopefully, the dads will learn that they can be an active and present father for their child, she says.
Recognizing that the nursing staff focuses on mom and baby, the nurses have recruited male staff members to invite fathers to the Fatherhood Initiative kickoff.
It’s all part of the basic focus — it takes two to do a great job raising a child.
For more information on the Fatherhood Initiative, please contact Veronica Hudson at (251) 415-8640.
About USA Children's & Women's Hospital
The University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital is among a handful of freestanding hospitals in the United States dedicated specifically to the health care needs of children and women. USACWH health care professionals are uniquely qualified and equipped to provide a wide range of therapeutic and surgical services for children and women, be it life-threatening illness, traumatic injury, premature birth or high-risk obstetrical and gynecological needs.
USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the Mobile area’s leading provider of health services for newborn babies and their mothers. The Labor & Delivery Unit successfully delivers more than 2,800 babies each year, an average of five to 15 babies each day, which is twice as many births as any other hospital in Mobile. The unit also features 15 private birthing suites promoting family-centered care and three operating rooms for cesarean section deliveries and other obstetric procedures.
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