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Baby Makes 3

All parents and their children deserve the chance to live a happy, safe and healthy life.

However, the reality is that many women – and men – find themselves locked into traditional, unequal parenting roles which are pre-determined by their gender. Feeling de-valued and trapped, this can have serious consequences for both parents’ mental health and wellbeing, and the health of their relationship.

Baby Makes 3 is an evidence-based, award-winning education and social change initiative which builds:

  • mutual understanding, appreciation and respect among first-time parents, and
  • the capacity of local governments, maternal and child health services and maternity services to promote gender equality by influencing organisational norms, practices and structures.

Developed by Carrington Health in 2008, and now delivered in more than 40 health services across Victoria, Baby Makes 3 builds knowledge and skills in new parents to foster equal and respectful relationships.

A component of Baby Makes 3 is a group-based program led by trained male and female facilitators. It is delivered directly to parents, via Local Government Maternal and Child Health Service first-time parent groups and Public Maternity Service child birth and parenting education programs. The program promotes an equitable distribution of parenting work, decision-making and household chores by men and women, laying the foundation for healthier relationships and giving the whole family an opportunity to thrive.

Critically, Baby Makes 3 is much more than a parenting or relationship program for individuals. As a health promotion intervention providing support at a pivotal life stage, it shapes long-term attitudes and social norms about equitable parenting and gender equality by challenging outdated and rigid gendered expectations of becoming a parent.

With a statewide delivery footprint in antenatal and postnatal health services and as a frequently cited example of best practice gender equality promotion in Australia, Baby Makes 3 is a catalyst for social change at a systemic level.

Webpage: Baby Makes 3

Resource: Baby Makes 3 Program Overview