Baby Makes Three program helps new parents adjust

First-time fathers (from left) Mailors Flat’s Andrew Maher holding Nate, four months, Port Fairy’s Ashley Price with Sophie, three months, and Warrnambool’s David Harrington holding Julia, 16 weeks. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

First-time fathers (from left) Mailors Flat’s Andrew Maher holding Nate, four months, Port Fairy’s Ashley Price with Sophie, three months, and Warrnambool’s David Harrington holding Julia, 16 weeks. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

TWO is company and three may be a crowd, but a new council initiative is easing the strain often posed following the birth of a first child.

The south-west’s five shires banded together to establish the Baby Makes Three program less than 12 months ago and the organisers say its success is self-evident.

More than 180 first-time parents have completed the program which covers the challenges faced by couples during the early stages of their new daughter or son’s life.

Baby Makes Three project director Steve Dawkins said while the birth of their first child can be a joy-filled time, it coincides with great changes.

“In the lead-up to the birth, most couples are more focused on the baby and rightly so,” Mr Dawkins said.

“What is less talked about is the changes to routine, running the household, budgeting — things that seem small but have a big impact on the lives of new parents.”

The program features three sessions lasting two hours each which focus on gender roles and equality, sex and intimacy, dealing with conflict and proper communication.

Mr Dawkins said the first-time parents involved in the program ranged in age from late teens to their 40s. “The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

“While the issues we cover are important, a lot of the mums and dads comment on how they met people in the same shoes as themselves and they can discuss the similarities in being first-time parents.”

Warrnambool City councillors praised the program at its last general meeting, with several commenting on the feedback from participants.

New parents are informed of the program through the Maternal and Child Health Services, with identical classes operating in the Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg and Southern Grampians shires.

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